No forgetting Vinícius abuse - Ancelotti on Valencia return

Carlo Ancelotti has said the racist abuse suffered by Vinícius Júnior away at Valencia last season shouldn't be forgotten ahead of the player's return this weekend.

Real Madrid visit Valencia's Mestalla in LaLiga on Saturday for the first time since the Brazil forward was racially abused by fans on May 21 last year, before being sent off in a game which Madrid lost 1-0.

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Ancelotti praised Valencia for identifying and banning three fans for life, while a criminal inquiry into the abuse is ongoing, with Vinícius giving evidence in the case via videolink last October.

Ancelotti said he hadn't considered not playing Vinícius on Saturday, given the scrutiny the player would be under.

"No. Why? The idea is to go and play a great game of football," Ancelotti said in his pre-match news conference. "Don't forget what happened, because racist acts have to be identified and condemned, but Valencia did very well last year.

"They identified those who committed an offence. That's what everyone, the whole football family, has to do when something happens."

Valencia have been unhappy with the reaction to the Vinícius incident, arguing that their wider fanbase has been wrongly categorised as racist.

The club have denied access to the Mestalla for the game to a documentary crew making a film about Vinícius.

"What we saw last year was from a minority," club captain José Luis Gayà said this week. "The club acted as it had to, banning them for life... [but] our fans were treated unfairly."

Vinícius has repeatedly been targeted with racist abuse by opposition fans.

This week, an Atlético Madrid fan was arrested after an eight-year-old girl was threatened and racially insulted for wearing a Vinícius Júnior shirt before the Madrid derby last September.

"Vinícius is ready to play the best game possible, as he always does, he likes to play football," Ancelotti said, when asked if he'd spoken to the forward this week. "All we've talked about this week is how to cause problems for Valencia, who are a well-organised team with young players with a lot of quality."

The game at the Mestalla will be Vinícius' 250th game for Real Madrid.

"Since I arrived, I've seen a constant progression," Ancelotti said. "With the quality he has, he's added consistency, he's added goals... He doesn't have a ceiling."

Ancelotti confirmed that Jude Bellingham would be available to play after injuring his ankle on Feb. 10.

"He's 100%," Ancelotti said. "He hasn't trained a lot with the team, but he's done everything that he needed to do. He's fine, in good condition, comfortable with his ankle, and tomorrow he'll play."