Spanish police arrested Tuesday four men suspected of hanging a dummy of Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior from a bridge in January in Madrid.
The arrests come two days after racist abuse was again hurled at the 22-year-old Brazilian international during a Spanish league match, sparking an international outcry.
The four men, who were arrested in Madrid, are “suspected of a hate crime for hanging from a bridge a mannequin with Vinicius’ shirt,” police said in a statement.
Three of the men are members of an ultra fan group of a Madrid football club, the statement added without identifying the club.
The dummy wearing Vinicius Junior’s jersey was hung by the neck from a highway bridge near Real Madrid’s training ground on January 26 ahead of the club’s match against Atletico Madrid.
A banner in the red and white colours of Atletico was also flung over the bridge that read: “Madrid hates Real”.
The message is often used by one of Atletico Madrid’s ultra fans groups, although it denied at the time being responsible for the display.
Vinicius Junior has often been targeted by opposition fans in Spain’s La Liga and was once more in a 1-0 loss at Valencia on Sunday.
The game was held up for several minutes and the referee wrote in his post-match report that shouts of “monkey” had been directed at Vinicius.
Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation into the incident, which was condemned by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.