Police in Spain have detained four people suspected of hanging an effigy of the Real Madrid player, Vinicius Jr, from a bridge in Madrid.
The figure appeared in January ahead of a match between Real and their rivals in the capital, Atletico.
It was hung by its neck under a banner saying: “Madrid hates Real”.
The Brazil international, who is black, was met with racial abuse by opposing fans during a weekend La Liga game. His club lodged a hate crime complaint.
Real’s match at Valencia on Sunday was paused in the second half as an incensed Vinicius reported opposition fans to the referee.
Following the match, in which the 22-year-old was later sent off for violent conduct, he said: “La Liga belongs to racists.”
La Liga president Javier Tebas responded on Twitter by saying Vinicius twice did not turn up for a meeting to discuss what it “can do in cases of racism”, adding: “Before you criticise and slander La Liga, you need to inform yourself properly.”
But football federation chief Luis Rubiales said Spanish football had “a serious problem that also stains an entire team, an entire fan base, an entire club, an entire country”.
Spanish prosecutors will now decide whether to pursue a criminal investigation.
Vinicius has been the target of racist abuse multiple times this season and the Brazilian government said the incident was “yet another inadmissible episode”.
It has requested urgent meetings with Spanish ministers, prosecutors and the football federation.
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