Skip to content
Vinícius Júnior can be the difference-maker in Madrid derby

"I was not surprised as I know him since he arrived. I know how he plays football. But that a kid of 18 years old plays in this way does not often happen. He deserves a lot of praise.”

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari reserved praise for Vinícius Júnior when speaking to ESPN following his side's 1-1 draw with FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the first leg of Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final.

The Brazilian starlet was chief tormentor on the night before he was replaced by Gareth Bale with 25 minutes left.

Vinícius played a significant part in the opening goal of the night. In what is quickly becoming his trademark, he cut in from the left flank and created enough space to whip a cross into the Barcelona penalty area. Karim Benzema did superbly well to bring the ball down and play it back across goal for Lucas Vázquez to nonchalantly pass the ball into the goal.

Vázquez’s goal, Benzema’s assist, but credit should go to Vinícius for creating the opportunity when it initially appeared as though he’d been forced wide. His direct nature, coupled with his aggressive dribbling, turned what could’ve been a wasted chance into a dangerous one. And Los Blancos reaped the rewards.

The Brazilian prodigy has gradually been eased into life in the Spanish capital but now, full of confidence, it’s time for Solari to unleash him.

Madrid travel to neighbors Atlético de Madrid on Saturday with more than just bragging rights to play for. Diego Simeone’s men currently hold a two-point lead over Real. A win for Solari and his team would see them leapfrog Los Colchoneros into second place in LaLiga and would extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven. With games coming thick and fast at this stage of the season, having momentum on your side is never a bad thing.

Real Madrid are without a LaLiga victory over Atléti for close to three years with Los Blancos last taking all three points from their rivals in 2016.

Many might expect the likes of Gareth Bale, Antoine Griezmann, Álvaro Morata or Benzema to be the difference-makers on the day. But it could well be the fearless youngster who steps up to take centre stage in the game neither team wants to lose. 

Vinícius has the x-factor. He's a special talent with an abundance of ability. Furthermore, he's full of confidence. 

 

Though the sample size isn't the greatest, totalling just over 1,000 minutes in LaLiga and the Copa del Rey, he's posting eye-catching numbers.

He's found the back of the net on four occasions and chipped in with six assists. He's averaging 7.09 dribbles – a number no player can better – completing 3.92, a ratio only two players surpass. He's touching the ball in the opposition's penalty area 7.31 times per 90, the third highest in the Spanish top flight. 

All in all, he's a handful down the left-hand side and a tricky player to come up against. Atléti use Santiago Arias at right-back and the Colombian International is reliable and a consistent performer. He's in the top 20 for tackles attempted and tackles won in LaLiga. However, he is dribbled past on 0.7 occasions on a per 90-minute basis. 

Vinícius isn't your stereotypical left winger so the Brazilian flyer is going to fancy his chances against the former PSV man if he does manage to isolate him in the left channel of the pitch. There are intriguing match-ups all over the pitch but the one to watch might just be Arias up against the Real Madrid No.28.  


Don't miss out on the 2019 International Champions Cup and the chance to see the world's best players in your back yard. We'll be announcing teams and venues in the coming weeks, so sign up to make sure you don't miss a thing!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR UPDATES

 
3D4D9472-4273-4A01-937A-9A857E954453 Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. 019C7B0F-5AA9-423C-88D0-90AB2B77DE7B Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. 019C7B0F-5AA9-423C-88D0-90AB2B77DE7B Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. 019C7B0F-5AA9-423C-88D0-90AB2B77DE7B Created with sketchtool. Icons/Arrow/1000 9C756534-D8EA-4B92-9DDD-2A3DD8CA9BB7 Created with sketchtool. ABF5B1B3-D7F2-4789-A3AE-0B4476C4FD92 Created with sketchtool. F3916FC0-768E-4027-A1D5-CC66110459CF Created with sketchtool. Icon / Social / Android@3x Created with Sketch. icon-dropdown Created with Sketch. icon-dropdown Created with Sketch. Check CB_Linked_Icon_Arrow Icon / Social / iOS@3x Created with Sketch. echllogoeps Created with Sketch. Group 18 Copy Created with Sketch. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 42E886A7-7224-4FDC-BBEB-01976002C351 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 40C8A19E-A06F-4836-ABD8-C5AE68BC33DB Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 644E21E0-3CB1-4F6B-B321-22391C0CD429 Created with sketchtool. team-logo / WIN Created with Sketch. team-logo / PW Created with Sketch. team-logo / LOST Created with Sketch. team-logo / PL Created with Sketch. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 42E886A7-7224-4FDC-BBEB-01976002C351 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 7CB4E955-9512-49F4-B03B-933CF03CA2FD Created with sketchtool. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 42E886A7-7224-4FDC-BBEB-01976002C351 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. Icons/Search/1000 Play Artboard 1 CB_Linked_Icon_Close CB_Linked_Icon_Close Check F896540F-C96F-4488-888D-5ECB022F43CE Created with sketchtool. CB_Linked_Icon_Arrow CB_Linked_Icon_Arrow