Real Madrid-Bound Rodrygo Praises Santos Fans After Copa Libertadores Violence

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2018

SANTOS, BRAZIL - AUGUST 28: Rodrygo #9 of Santos looks on during the match between Santos and independiente (ARG) as a part of Copa Libertadores 2018 at Vila Belmiro Stadium on August 28, 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Ricardo Nogueira/Getty Images)
Ricardo Nogueira/Getty Images

Santos forward Rodrygo, who will join Real Madrid next summer, has defended the Brazilian club's fans after they caused disruption in Tuesday's last-16 Copa Libertadores clash against Independiente, causing the match to be suspended 12 minutes from time.

The Santos fans were protesting against CONMEBOL's decision to change last week's 0-0 first-leg result to a 3-0 Independiente win due to midfielder Carlos Sanchez's ineligibility. Rodrygo, 17, said they were right to react as they did, per Marca

"I believe the fans did well. What happened [to us] was a disgrace. The fans were totally right in doing what they did today. The game ended when the result of the trial came out, that shame, the temptation was to talk a lot of s--t here, but there's nothing we can do, so I have to stay still."

In a fan video taken just after the suspension of Tuesday's match the teenager was also captured shouting: "CONMEBOL, sons of b-----s," per Marca.

Oklahoma City Energy FC's Franco Sui Yuan and Goal both provided footage of the incident, which saw fans clashing with police after flares were thrown in the Estadio Pacaembu:

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Sanchez was deemed to be ineligible to play in the opening leg due to a red card he picked up while playing for River Plate in 2015.

Per Goal's Sacha PisaniIndependiente successfully argued that Sanchez had not served the entirety of his ban before turning out for August 22's clash, and the result was changed in the Argentinian side's favour.  

In the wake of the decision, Santos released a statement expressing their dissatisfaction, per Pisani:

"Faced with this instability in the political scenario experienced by the Brazilian clubs in CONMEBOL, there is a pressing need for a union of all Brazilian sports representatives so that our football will not be grossly harmed.

"We will go to the last instances to defend our right to compete in equality, as well as that, we will not fade away in the incessant search for justice damages already caused."

The upshot of the drama-packed encounter is that Santos were eliminated from the Copa, while Independiente advance to the quarter-finals to face either River or Racing Club.

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