Real Madrid will face their biggest test of the 2022/23 campaign so far when they lock horns with local rivals Atletico Madrid in the derby at the Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday night.
Los Blancos are at the top of the La Liga standings currently, having won each of their five matches in the competition so far. And they head into the weekend clash on the back of a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League.
With Karim Benzema’s involvement on Sunday highly doubtful, all eyes will be on Vinicius Jr and how he performs, considering that he has stepped up and taken over the mantle of Real Madrid’s main man in the Frenchman’s absence.
The 22-year-old has racked up a return of five goals and three assists from eight matches in all competitions already and will be the biggest threat going forward for Real Madrid.
Having enjoyed a stunning season last time out, Vinicius is now hoping to better his return in the current campaign. Ahead of the derby, he outlined his ambitions for the season, saying (h/t Arancha Rodriguez):
“I am very excited about this season and I am hoping that it will be the same as or better than last season. I have the trust of everyone and the coach, who always tells me that he has confidence in front of goal.”
Talking about the preparations for the derby against Atletico Madrid, Vinicius said: “We are working hard to get to the match in good shape.”
On Real Madrid’s excellent start to the season, which has seen them win eight in eight across all competitions, the 22-year-old star said:
“All the effort we have made in the preseason counts and is the key. The main reasons for the good start are our hard work, the mix of experienced and younger players.”
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.