Footballer hospitalized with head trauma after thugs attack team bus (VIDEO)
Rocks were thrown as a fierce Brazilian derby was suspended
A horrific bus attack that left several football players injured and caused one to require hospital treatment for head trauma resulted in the latest installment of the Internacional-Gremio derby in southern Brazil being suspended on Saturday.
The bitter rivals are currently contesting the Porto Alegre state championship known as the Gaucho, which in modern times acts as a pre-season tournament to the national league ahead of the start of the season in April.
Before their latest meeting at Inter’s Beira-Rio Stadium, however, Gremio had to pull out after thugs threw rocks at their coach, breaking its windows and hurting players including midfielder Mathias Villasanti and Colombian star Jaminton Campaz.
Gremio later posted a photo of Paraguay international Villasanti in an ambulance being taken to hospital, a sizeable rock the club said injured him and other snaps that showed smashed windows on the coach.
Diante de agressão covarde e absurda sofrida por nossa delegação, já comunicamos à Federação Gaúcha de Futebol nossa decisão de não disputar o clássico Grenal neste sábado. + pic.twitter.com/ez2QlXXLPA
— Grêmio FBPA (@Gremio) February 26, 2022
“After the cowardly and absurd aggression suffered by our delegation, we have told the Gaucha Football Federation of our decision not to go ahead with the Grenal derby this Saturday,” said Gremio in a statement.
“Our attention at this moment is all focused on the care of the athlete Villasanti, who was hit in the face by a rock, and the other injured members of the delegation,” the club added.
“In addition to the technical imbalance and the absence of [a] sporting atmosphere this criminal act causes, Gremio’s decision also shows our repudiation of all kinds of violence.”
Inter also condemned the violence and confirmed that two suspects were arrested, stating that the club will “continue to give full support to the authorities in the investigation of the case”.
Gremio later detailed how Villasanti was being treated for a cerebral concussion, cranial trauma, lacerations to the face and hip trauma that required him to spend Saturday night in hospital to undergo further observation.
On Sunday morning, Gremio confirmed that the 25-year-old was re-evaluated by the medical team at the Moinhos de Vento hospital together with Dr. Marcio Dornelles. He was subsequently discharged.
“He is at home, doing well and will be monitored and followed up by the Gremio Medical Department for the next 24 hours,” the boyhood club of Brazil legend Ronaldinho said.
Repudiamos com veemência os atos criminosos sofridos na chegada da delegação ao estádio Beira-Rio. Casos como esse, que infelizmente têm se tornado corriqueiros no esporte, não representam aquilo que o futebol realmente significa.
Vídeo completo em: https://t.co/zJZicsdJj4 pic.twitter.com/0sgKKCFn1s
— Grêmio FBPA (@Gremio) February 27, 2022
“Cases like this, which unfortunately have become commonplace in sport, do not represent what football really means.”
The club also shared a video of the second incident of its kind in Brazilian football in the past 24 hours.
Gremio released yet another correspondence on Twitter, where it highlighted another “case of violence in football” when it said carnival season in Brazil should have been a cause of joy.
After Cascavel lost 1-0 away to Maringa at Maringa’s Estadio Willie Davids, their bus was hit with two rocks. There were no injuries.
In the same state of Parana, fans – some of whom were wielding metal bars – invaded the pitch and attacked Parana players, who responded with kicks as the relegation-threatened club’s eventual 3-1 defeat to Uniao was suspended with five minutes.
In the most shocking incident of all, Bahia players were injured before a Thursday night match against Sampaio Correa when their bus was attacked and a bomb exploded on board.
On Sunday afternoon, Gremio president Romildo Bolzan expressed gratitude for the “solidarity received from other clubs, entities, personalities and, especially, from Gremio fans”.
“We are also immensely grateful to our fans who went to the stadium and behaved peacefully during the more than two hours they had to wait inside Beira-Rio,” Bolzan said.
“On such a sad and revolting day, seeing this true network of affection and support form, in addition to touching everyone, gives us hope that football can be what it should be: a moment of joy, family and peace.
“We will continue to act so that the responsibilities of the attack are determined and that the criminals are punished in an exemplary manner. Violence will not defeat peace and passion for sport.”