‘I’m not proud’: Gabriel Paulista apologises for WILD challenge on Vinicius Junior that saw him receive a red card during Valencia’s 2-0 loss to Real Madrid, admitting it was ‘never his intention to hurt the Brazilian’
Gabriel Paulista has admitted he ‘is not proud’ and has apologised for his reckless tackle on Vinicius Junior that saw him receive a red card during Valencia’s 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Thursday.
After a goalless first half at the Bernabeu, Los Che went 2-0 down in the opening ten minutes of the second term, with two quick-fire goals from Marco Asensio and Vinicius putting the hosts in a commanding lead.
And while it’s been a turbulent time off the field at Valencia, with former manager Gennaro Gattuso being sacked just days before the match, frustrations are starting to boil over on the pitch too, with Gabriel wildly kicking out at the Los Blancos winger.
Gabriel Paulista (right) was sent off for a rash challenge against Vinicius Junior on Thursday
A brawl broke out on the field, with Rodrygo Junior and Eder Militao marching to lambast the Valencia defender for his actions, but Gabriel was reprimanded shortly after, with the tackle earning the ex-Arsenal player a red card and a two-match suspension.
The 32-year-old has since taken to Instagram to express his apologies to the Valencia team, fans and to Vinicius, admitting ’emotions were running high’ as his club, who sit 14th in LaLiga, battle their way through a troublesome period.
‘I accept the criticism and the red card, I’m not proud. I am a powerful player, but noble.
‘I respect Vinicius and it was never my intention to hurt him. We are suffering a lot at this great club, experiencing a very difficult situation and feelings are running high.
‘Sometimes it is difficult to control your nerves. I didn’t control them and I sincerely apologise. I apologise to the fans. We will continue fighting until the end to turn this situation around. Let no one doubt us.’
While Gabriel may not have a flawless record, having been sent off before for Valencia and for Arsenal, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was interestingly understanding of his situation as an ex-player.
Gabriel was subsequently given a red card and has since been awarded a two-match ban
‘It came from a moment of frustration and that can happen sometimes in football.’ Ancelotti said.
‘He was frustrated because his team weren’t playing well. The tackle is a bit ugly, but I can understand it as an ex-footballer.
‘Paulista has always been proper and that’s why I think it was a moment of frustration.’
The tackle sparked a brawl with Rodrygo and Eder Militao coming to the defence of Vinicius
Valencia’s interim coach Voro echoed the Madrid coach, saying: ”I think it was an action resulting from impotence or nervousness.
‘He has committed an act resulting from desperation for losing. A red card that has left the team with one less.’
But, equally, he was critical of the tackle, saying: ‘We were losing 2-0 and if it was complicated before, then impossible.
Both Marco Asensio and Vinicius scored in the match to give Real Madrid a 2-0 win vs Valencia
But things weren’t all good for Los Blancos as Karim Benzema left the field with an injury
‘These things cannot be produced again and leave the team with one less. I’m going to talk to him so that this doesn’t happen.’
Meanwhile, Madrid ace Karim Benzema who set up both of their goals was brought off in the match with an injury.
It is unclear yet as to the nature of the injury, and as to how long his lay-off might be, but Ancelotti did play down the seriousness of the Ballon d’Or winner’s injury.