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Vasco da Gama's Juninho Pernambucano retires

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Nene feared for his family during Vasco da Gama-Flamengo fan trouble

Vasco Fans
Vasco da Gama and Flamengo supporters clashed on Saturday.

Vasco da Gama midfielder Nene said he feared for his family after violence erupted in the wake of a match between his team and rivals Flamengo at the weekend.

Rio de Janeiro military police were called into action at Vasco's Estadio Sao Januario as the home fans began rioting in the stands after Flamengo's 1-0 league victory on Saturday night.

One individual was confirmed dead and several others were injured as clashes continued outside the stadium.

Nene, who played all 90 minutes of Saturday's game, told Cadena Ser: "It's deplorable. I was worried and scared. I feared for my family because they were in the stands."

Nene said the clashes began after he and his teammates left the pitch.

"We went to the changing room as normal but the Flamengo team was still on the pitch when it all started," the former Celta Vigo and Paris Saint-Germain player said. "There was a lot of confusion. We couldn't see anything but we could hear everything.

"We were all worried about our family members because they were in the stands and the pepper spray was being used. Eventually, things calmed down in the stadium and we were told that our family members were safe. Then the violence continued outside."

Nene expressed his sadness over the death of the 27-year-old Vasco supporter David Rocha Lopes, who was shot on the streets outside the stadium.

"It''s terrible that a person has died," he said. "This is not football. It leaves me very saddened. Even if a big rivalry exists between us [Flamengo and Vasco], that must stop on the pitch and not continue elsewhere.

"I've been here [at Vasco] two years and this is the first time I've experienced something like this. This is not right and this should not happen. It does make you think about things because it's a delicate and difficult situation."

Vasco president Eurico Miranda apologised for the incidents following the game and said there was "no justification" for the lamentable scenes.

Nene expects his club to be punished despite claiming there was enough security in place.

"They [the president and club] did all that they could to have the right security inside the stadium," Nene said. "This should not happen and I think it's a question of education. You cannot be at the mercy of violence with so many families and children present at the stadium.

"I'm certain there will be actions taken and we will have a lot of problems. I don't know what will happen but I can imagine that we will not be able to play again in our stadium this year."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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