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European way or the high way – The subtle colonisation and racism in football

Is there a particular way football should be played and tailored with the celebrations that come out of it after a goal must have been scored to win a game at the death of the hour, when a draw is savaged in the dying minute from a losing position, when a player going through a barren run in front of goal finally scores? These are questions that need answers from the supposed “gatekeepers” of football.

Football as a game did not just gather the large following that it has by being conventional or sticking to the rigid set of standards that some people are fighting very hard for it to conform to.

The diversity in football is the beauty and, at the same time, the bedrock and solid foundation of the game. What is football without diversity from Brazil’s Joga Bonito? their flamboyant, skillful and free flowing football. 

The intelligent Tiki-taka, Quick, short passes, owning the midfield/possession football from Spain, or the direct, kick and run, athletic and physical brand from England, how about the physical, direct and interwoven runs but with more precise passing from Germany, the very defensive and tactical, emotional and theatrical style from Italy, the very directly with determined but anticipated attacks were defensive formations are always maintained like a military formation with little or no improvisation from Northern Europe, the slow tempo and buildup of Central American football with the ball usually been moved with short passes and a lot of dribblings and The African style of play that has to do with so much pace, energy and endurance.

The ‘gatekeepers’ of football from Europe have once again struck with the best tool for dominance, which is the media, to determine and direct the diverse world of football on how to play the round leather game and how emotions should be channelled.

@Atleti twitter

While speaking to Movistar+ ahead of Sunday’s derby game between Atletico and Real Madrid, Atletico de Madrid midfielder and team captain Koke was asked about Vinicius’ dance moves while celebrating a goal, and he suggested the possibility of Atletico fans reacting angrily if he were to dance at the Metropolitano. “At the end of the day, if he scores a goal and decides to dance, it’s his call.” “To each his own and everyone celebrates the way he likes,” said Koke.

The reporter, however, pressed about whether or not he would understand the fans at the Wanda Metropolitano if they were to react poorly to Vinicius’ celebrations. “There would be trouble for sure, it’s normal,” the midfielder responded.

It is very difficult to work out the angle the journalist was working from and with this kind of question. From my own opinion, I think it was a deliberate question that seemed to be planted to generate a different kind of reaction to the one the footballing world reacted to by rallying round “VINI”.

This sudden attack on Vinicius’s person and celebrations begs for an answer. Vinicius is one of the best and most informed players in the world at the moment, so trying to kill his confidence by attacking his celebration and not his football (if at all he was having a poor start to the season) is something that is very logical to do a few months before the World Cup in Qatar. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but there are patterns to these attacks. First it was the Neymar vs Mbape non existent rivalry at PSG, almost portraying Neymar as the bad one but he Neymar never gave the press the attention to run their agenda, secondly Richarlison, who was criticised for a few flips, turns, and ball juggling, and was accused of disrespecting his opponent, but Marlicius’s tackles aren’t generally regarded as putting players in danger.

What is the identity of a Samba player without the qualities that makes them thick and solid; the ability to use their skills to dribble and outwit two or three players; those flips and turns with a smiling face like that of Ronaldinho in his playing days, or the Mathus Cunha Brazilian funk and sambist artists, reggaeton singers, and American black dances are used to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. This is the Brazilian identity. This is how they play. This is how they enjoy their football. It is how they celebrate their football.

Systematically and intentionally criminalising that brand of football has no place in our football that’s built on diversity, love and passion.

No one has ever seen Haaland’s signature goal celebration ‘Lotus pose’ as disrespectful; rather the celebration is rewarded as iconic enough that it has been included in the last few editions of the FIFA video game.


Imagine the uproar it would create if Ronaldo’s (CR7) iconic celebration, ‘SIUUU!’, was tagged as disrespectful. Just imagine it for a second.

Bleacher report

The same dance celebrations, dribbles and skills that journalists and pundits criticise South Americans and most especially Brazilian players for, are the same skills but this time of a lower quality that they praise European players for. 

@totalcristiano Twitter feed

It has never been a problem for the likes of young Cristiano Ronaldo, Johan Cryuff, Thiery Henry, ZINADENE ZIDANE, ARJEN ROBBEN, BERNADO SILVA, JACK GREALISH,ANTOINE GRIEZMANN, ERLING HAALAND e.t.c to showcase their dribbling skills or goal scoring celebrations (they even invented a new statistic category for Grealish as the most fouled player in the EPL). Is this not an act of hypocrisy? The hypocrisy is so strong that never has there been an uproar when Antoine Griezmann does his dancing celebrations for Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano, Le Blues at the Stade de France or any other stadium. So why pick on Vinicius?

@Atleti twitter handle

One would have dismissed the comment by Koke on Vinicius as one of those unthoughtful moments, but seeing the comment made by Pedro Bravo, the president of the Association of Spanish Agents: “Vinicius will have to respect the opponents.” If you want to dance, go to the sambadrome in Brazil. In Spain, you have to respect rivals and stop playing the m*nkey. ”

Referring to a footballer using an undertone like “m*nkey” on national TV because he danced celebrating his goals is unacceptable and should never be tolerated. Pedro Bravo came out to make a clarification about his comment “I want to clarify that the expression ‘m*nkey’ to describe Vinicius’ celebration dance was done metaphorically (“doing stupid things”). Since my intention was not to offend anyone, I sincerely apologise. I am sorry! ” This apology is more or less a scripted apology at best, as had been anticipated by Vinicius in his response to the attack directed at him. The script always ends with an apology and “I’ve been misunderstood.” It still does not remove the racial undertone in the message. 

Bruno twitter page

Brazilian player Bruno Guimarães on his twitter handle, condemned the attack on Vinicius: Esse BABACA precisa sair daí já preso! Não tem desculpa! Se o cara fala isso numa TV que está ao vivo imagina o que não fala quando não está. Incompreensível se esse cidadão não for preso “ Translated from Portuguese by Google  This babaca needs to get out of there immediately! There is no excuse! If the guy says that on live TV, imagine what he doesn’t say when he’s not. It is incomprehensible if this citizen is not arrested.”

The attack on Vinicius, as we have seen in the last 24 hours and in other attacks on South American players before, appears to be part of a systematic conversation started in the European media against top and influential South American players, who are unquestionably the only players who can prevent the European team from winning the World Cup. It is more of a psychological warfare aimed at these players to destabilise their own very style of play, which has brought them nothing but success up until this point, and for them to abandon this style for a more European style, which the European teams have perfected, and they would have the upper hand to beat these South American teams on their own terms.

Given that managers like Jose Mourinho have engaged in their fair share of conflict, this is not the first time it has occurred. They constantly bullied him to discard the very style of football that has brought him so much success over the years in favour of a style that conforms to their idea of a more artistic, passing, catchy and yet boring style of play. He was tagged as anti-football because he refused to change and stuck to his guts. Why fix something that is not broken?

The South Americans are quickly realising that these assaults aren’t just acts of journalistic bravado, but rather a deliberate attempt to alter their football’s image with a whiff of racism.

They quickly rallied around their young player, with Edson Arantes do Nascimento (pele), arguably the greatest player of all time, leading the defence, demonstrating their understanding of what was at stake for them.

Pele on IG to Vini Jr: “Football is joy.” It’s a dance. It’s more than that. It’s a party. Although unfortunately, racism still exists, we won’t let that stop us from smiling. And we will continue to fight racism every day in this way: fighting for our right to be happy. “

Pele instagram page

Neymar on IG to Vini Jr: “Dribble, dance & be you!” Enjoy it just the way you are. Go for it my boy, next goal we dance 🕺 ”

Thiago Silva on IG to Vini Jr: “Dance always brother! Be yourself all the time. Don’t allow anyone to take your happiness; this is not a lack of respect! “

Raphinha on IG to Vini Jr: “I want to see you dance.” I want to see joy. “

The likes of Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Eduardo Camavinga were not left out with their support.

Real Madrid Football Club have issued an official statement backing Vinicius Junior amid racist abuse towards the player as they have vowed to take legal action against anyone who makes racist expressions towards their players.

Vinicius feels that these hypocritical attacks have more to do with his skin colour, where he is coming from and how the likes of black Brazilians bother them in Europe, but he knows he has a strong will and will continue to dance with his football to help the less privileged and to speak against cultural diversity.

As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war. I have that phrase tattooed on my body. I have that thought permanently in my head. That is the attitude and the philosophy that I try to put into practice in my life. They say that happiness bothers others. The happiness of a victorious black Brazilian in Europe bothers them much more. ” But my desire to win, my smile, and the sparkle in my eyes are much bigger than that. You can’t even imagine it. In a single statement, I was a victim of xenophobia and racism. But that did not start yesterday.

A few weeks ago, they began to criminalise my dancing. dances that are not mine. They belong to Ronaldinho, Neymar, [Lucas] Paqueta, [Antoine] Griezmann, Joao Felix, Matheus Cunha, et al. They belong to Brazilian funk and samba artists, reggaeton singers, and black Americans. They are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it. I’m not going to stop dancing. I come from a country where poverty is everywhere, where people have no access to education… and in many cases, no food on the table! I don’t usually come here publicly to refute criticism. They attack me, and I don’t speak. They praise me and I don’t speak either. I work! I work a lot.

“On and off the pitch.” I have developed an application to help the education of children in public schools without any financial help from anyone. I am making a school with my name. I will do much more for education. I want the next generations to be prepared like me to fight against racists and xenophobes.

I always try to be a professional and an exemplary citizen. But that doesn’t click, it’s not trending on the internet, nor does it motivate cowards to talk aggressively about people they don’t even know.

“The script always ends with an apology” and “I’ve been misunderstood.” But I repeat it for you, racist: “I will not stop dancing.” Whether at the Sambadrome, at the Bernabeu or wherever. With the love and smiles of someone who is very happy. Vini Jr. #BAILAVINIJR.”

It may seem a bit too harsh that I am trying to criticise the European media space for the bad actions of a few. That is not the case because I, for one, frown at the idea of generalisation, but what we are not going to shy away from is the idea and narrative the media are trying to sell us that there’s only one single way of playing the round leather game of football and criminalising the cultural celebration of a group of people.

It is very okay to try to colonise the entire world of football with fairness, science, and, above all, sportsmanship in which the end result is to win; but what is not okay is to force nations and continents to play the European way as the only way.







Peter Enwenode

Peter Enwenode is an engineer, football analyst, writer, Content creator and farmer. He is a football analyst and writer for Elegbete tv/radio, an online media house in Nigeria. He has been in around the media space for more than 8 years with several radio shows to his name such as "9jafooty science" and "Dem-say Dem-say sports corner" He's the co-founder of Node agro-farms which specialises in Horticulture farming and agricultural consultant services.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Sodiq Suara

    Nice, there is no one way or pattern to play football, I just love the way the other Brazilian players showed support to vini jnr. I will be much happy if he scores and dance in the derby with atletico Madrid. I just hope one day racism will be reduced to the barest minimum

  2. Big Myroh

    This article echoes a lot of people’s minds about the game of football around the world. And I am also sticking to the belief that it is systematic colonialism and a racist move by the Europeans… Call me Conspiracy theorists or whatever

    That being said, I’m looking forward to seeing Vini JR score come Sunday and do a samba dance 🕺🏽 Move

  3. Olayinka

    You have said it all Peter, it high time we stood against all this attacks from the European media. They should stop making themselves the standard, everyone has their own culture and they should be respected.

  4. Timothy Dehinbo

    Such a an amazing piece, no lies in all of it.

    They keep preaching say no to racism, but they keep using their same media to push racism

  5. Ashiru Ibrahim

    Such a beautiful peace.
    The Europeans can’t force people to play or celebrate in a certain manner.

    Imagine scoring a last minute goal while raising ur hands up or just looking because you want to respect the opponents?. Dance all the way you fucking want. If its done by your people, it is fine. If it’s others, then its disrespectful.

  6. Joseph Okiche

    Spot on.

    Aside from dancing, there’s also a deliberate and conscious effort by some of the major European clubs to make South American players see Rabona as disrespectful and unprofessional.

    Very wrong!

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