Brazil and Real Madrid forward Rodrygo Goes responded to racist messages he received on his social media accounts following a heated argument with Argentina's captain Lionel Messi during the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers match between the two sides.
Rodrygo engaged in a heated argument with Messi and midfielder Rodrigo De Paul after the match started with a 30-minute delay due to a confrontation between the local police and Argentinian fans.
“Racists are always on duty. My social networks were invaded with insults and all sorts of nonsense,” Rodrygo posted on his social media accounts.
“If we don’t do what they want, if we don’t behave as they think we should, if we wear something that annoys them, if we don’t lower our heads when they attack us, if we occupy spaces they think are theirs alone, the racists will act out their criminal behaviour,” he added.
“Bad luck for them. We won’t stop.”
This incident underscores a disturbing trend, as it is not the first time a Brazilian footballer has been subjected to racial abuse. Rodrygo's teammate, Vinicius Junior, also faced significant racial abuse in Spain during the last two years.
Vinicius's case resulted in the arrest, punishment, and fines of several individuals who were subsequently banned from sports venues for years by the Spanish government. He received widespread support globally for his resilience, and FIFA recognised his anti-racism efforts by awarding him the Socrates Award for contributions off the field.
The Brazil vs Argentina rivalry is renowned as one of the fiercest in South America and worldwide. The intensity goes beyond the players, extending to passionate fans willing to go to extremes in support of their teams.
In the recent FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers match, which Argentina won 1-0, the rivalry manifested in 42 fouls, with 26 committed by Brazil and 16 by Argentina. A total of four cards were shown, offering a glimpse into the fierceness of this enduring football rivalry.