A composed finished, a leap into the crowd, and his name being sung around the Bernabéu. If ever there were a dream script for Vinicius Junior to be written by the Real Madrid faithful, that was it. The Br azilian has been the diamond in their eyes for the last few seasons, but a diamond in the rough at that.
Whilst he had shown glimpses of his brilliance, they had longed for sustained substance from him. It seems, however, that Vini has found his groove and he is every bit as devastating as they had believed he could be.
560 days on from his brilliant performance against Barcelona at home, Vini once again led the dance at the Bernabéu. Los Blancos faced early trouble, having conceded in the opening two minutes of the game against Celta Vigo.
The home side were immediately on the front foot and the Br azilian was at the forefront of that. He did not shy away from being involved throughout. He completed more dribbles than anyone with 5 of his attempted 10, he was second only to Benzema in the way of shots taken, joint second best with Modric with 2 key passes and he also chipped in with 2 tackles.
What we saw from Vini was what we have always seen from him, bravery and persistence. He will continually go at defenders, he will keep trying even if he is unsuccessful, his head never drops.
Through this season to date, the Br azilian already has four goals to his name. Whilst that may appear to be a modest return, it is worth noting that he scored the very same total through his previous 46 games. Not only that, he seems far calmer in front of the net than in seasons gone by.
The finish against Celta was precisely the kind he would previously over-complicate. You would grow used to expecting him to perhaps fumble that chance, however, this season he has shown he is a picture of calm in front of the net.
Another interesting facet to note about the Br azilian is his shots on target statistic through this season so far. He currently leads the league in the way of shots on target per 90 with 1.8, having also had the most amount of total shots, too. In the clash against Celta, he fired off 3 shots on target from his total of 4 shots overall.
If you watch his movements when in shooting positions this season, he appears to be far more measured and taking fewer touches before shooting. This is something that has also been noted by Carlo Ancelotti: “He has confidence right now, but he is remaining calm. When he’s through on goal, he is keeping cool.”
Paired with his already impressive ability on the ball, Vini is showing the growth that he needed to in order to really kick on to the next level and this will only further enhance Real Madrid. Should the Br azilian remain consistent in his ability to step up, it lightens the load on Karim Benzema and adds another dimension to Real’s attack which has been largely one-dimensional for some time.
The initial headlines may have been all about Real’s homecoming, but it was the young Br azilian who captured the attention. Karim Benzema may have scored a hat-trick, but somehow and some way, it was Vini who captured the limelight.
He has long been mocked, the flashy kid who cannot finish. The player who is all glitz but no glam, but he is changing that narrative with his performances so far this season.
Just simply look to the last time he played here in the Clásico against Barcelona. He danced, twisted, and turned past defenders. He got his goal but it had come by the way of a deflection. For many, that was the norm for him, by crook more than hook whenever he would score.
This time around, a timed run and a cool finish into the bottom corner. A far cry from what we had come to know from the Br azilian, that was the narrative. Gerard Pique even suggested he didn’t fear the Br azilian scoring in that moment, now there is a different thought process.
Ahead of the pending Champions League opener, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi was quoted saying: “ Vinicius Junior will be one of the most closely watched players tomorrow against Madrid,” a pointer that people are noticing that this campaign, Vinicius Jr is finally coming of age.