Vinicius: The Next Big Thing After Ronaldo?

Vinicius Junior had braces on his teeth when he arrived in Madrid for the 2018/2019 season. With double figure appearances in the La Liga and the Champions League, there’s nothing childish about his game

Vinicius Junior glittered in silvery smiles when he landed at Madrid’s Barajas airport in the summer, a couple of days after turning 18 years old.

His new employers, Real Madrid, were delighted to see him in a happy mood, the next prospect in their opinion. The braces on his teeth had to go after showing off, a demand from the board of directors which saw the man take them off.

The Spanish giants protected the man at all costs and there were concerns about his feelings on and off the pitch, as he looked naive. Although, the young man has the stamina and strength, asides his speed and acceleration.

Real Madrid paid Rio de Janeiro side Flamengo an astonishing €45 million ($51 million)—and potentially €61 million ($69 million)—in the previous year when he was just 16 years old.

Numerous demands have been put on Vinicius this season and that will not be the last as the toll on his development have taken a huge slope in his game time and directors are expecting him to fit into shoes in such a short time.

After Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane departed the club after a third successive Champions League title, former Spain coach Julen Lopetegui was brought in to try to reconfigure the team.

However, the man just saw a little maturity from Vinicius.

But after a few months, everything changed. And he was sacked, and new head coach Solari put his faith in Vinicius. Since then we have witnessed the meteoric rise of a star.

In the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, Vinicius became the club’s youngest player to be featured in a Clasico against Barcelona in the 21st century.

He wasted no time in proving he was the future. At his first touch of the ball at the Camp Nou, an almost deafening whistle from around 92,000 fans was heard. He needed only six minutes to silence the crowd who were hailing him, combining with Karim Benzema to create a goal for Lucas Vazquez in the 1-1 draw.

He was involved in eight+ goals for Madrid in the Copa del Rey last season, scoring twice and providing six assists.

He also emerged as a regular starter in La Liga and appeared in his first UEFA Champions League knockout tie when Real Madrid travelled to Amsterdam to face Ajax, before being knocked out eventually.

Vinicius brought his whole family with him from Rio de Janeiro to Madrid. They live in a mansion with a basketball court in La Moraleja, a wealthy residential neighbourhood near the club’s training and development facilities.

Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro and Luka Modric all live next to him, which will be handy in improving his language skills, adapting to the culture and bond with other team members, who may not be staying in Madrid for long as they are aging.

Vinicius is still young but physically ready, extremely fast, with very impressive sprinting. He is also a player with pace and controls the ball, beautifully.

This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace

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