It was one of the most important matches of the season for Real Madrid as they faced off against fellow title challengers Girona in La Liga at the Santiago Bernabeu. And they came out on top, securing a thumping 4-0 victory over Michel’s men riding on the brilliance of Vinicius Jr.
The Brazilian, back after missing the derby against Atletico Madrid due to injury, was in top form as he opened the scoring with a stunning goal before setting Jude Bellingham with an outstanding pass and the Englishman produced a fine finish to make it 2-0.
In the second half, the pair again combined for Bellingham to score his second of the night and make it 3-0 before Rodrygo added the fourth, with Vinicius involved in the move again.
The result meant that Real Madrid now have a five-point lead over Girona in the table.
One of the best games of the season, says Vinicius
Speaking after the match, Vinicius expressed his elation at the victory, claiming that it was one of their best matches of the season.
“One of the best, for sure. We did everything the coach asked us to do. Pressing when we had to and lowering the line when we had to. That’s the difference: when the team wants to, it’s very difficult to beat us,” he said.
Discussing what made the win so special, Vinicius pointed out how Girona have been performing all season, and said that the support from the fans at the Bernabeu helped the team.
“They’ve been doing very well, playing spectacularly… and we knew we had to start concentrated. That’s how we did it. Playing at home is always special and when the fans are with us, it’s hard for the others,” he remarked.
On his spectacular goal to open the scoring, the Real Madrid superstar said: “Normally I don’t hit it from outside the box, but today I felt confident and it came out well. Let’s rest, there’s more to come on Tuesday.”
The 23-year-old then lavished praise on Bellingham, saying: “We train every day together and we are getting to know each other. He’s a crack, he’s been scoring a lot of goals and I hope he can continue like this to help us for the rest of the season.”
Discussing his close relationship with Bellingham, Vinicius added: “He has been the best this season and we are very happy, because we are like a family, we are more united than ever and we must maintain this line to win great things.”
On the ovation that he and the team received at the Bernabeu, he said: “I’m always happy to play in this stadium and wear this shirt. I hope the presi leaves me here for a long time (laughs).”
It must be remembered that Real Madrid played tonight with a natural centre-back on the pitch, with Dani Carvajal and Aurelien Tchouameni filling in due to injuries.
“Carvajal looks like a centre-back, Tchouameni looks like a centre-back, Camavinga, when he plays at full-back, looks like a full-back. We train every day to give our best to this club, that’s the way it is,” remarked Vinicius on the makeshift defenders.
Rodrygo happy with win
Vinicius’ partner-in-crime, Rodrygo, also spoke to the media and claimed that Real Madrid had established a stranglehold at the top of the table after tonight’s victory.
“Yes, to be honest. It was a key match for us. We knew it was very important to win. We were very good. Everything went very well and we’re happy with the win,” he said.
Having gone through a bit of a rough patch recently, Rodrygo was back among the goals tonight, netting his 50th in Real Madrid colours.
“A lot of joy. It was a special moment for me. Scoring in this shirt is always special. It’s actually my 51st, because they took a goal away from me in Milan. But I’m very happy. It was a perfect match for us,” he mentioned.
On bringing an end to his dry patch in front of goal, Rodrygo said: “The coach never talks to me about the goal, because he has confidence in me. We know that sometimes we go through moments we don’t want to. I thank him for always supporting me.”
On what Ancelotti discussed with him at half-time, the Brazilian revealed: “He told me that I was working well defensively, but then in the second half he told me that I was very bad defensively and he was going to take me off (laughs). He put me under a bit of pressure and then I scored and that was it.”
Discussing the makeshift centre-back pairing of Carvajal and Tchouameni, Rodrygo stated: “We have a lot of confidence in everyone. We have versatile players who can play in that position. Carvajal and Tchouameni showed that. We have a lot of confidence in them. It’s a different and difficult position, but we knew they could do well.”
On what was a near-perfect night for Real Madrid, the only blemish came in the form of Bellingham walking off with an ankle injury. When asked about the midfielder’s condition, Rodrygo said: “I don’t know. I’ll ask him now.”
Real Madrid priority defensive target demanding €20 million in wages, club waiting to send first offer
Real Madrid top priority this summer window will be to nail down a move for Kylian Mbappe, who is set to leave PSG at the end of the season once his contract clocks up.
The Frenchman has been on their radar for the better part of the last decade at this point, but a move never went through for several reasons. This time, though, it is near completion, and seems to be the first one they will announce.
Once done, Madrid will look to negotiate with Bayern Munich as they are targeting a move for Alphonso Davies. The Canadian’s contract expires in the summer of 2025, and at this point, the Bavarians are quite pessimistic about his continuity.
In fact, a report earlier today from The Athletic claimed that Madrid have already reached a full verbal agreement with Davies. It was never going to be a problem for the Spanish giants, anyway, with the player keen to move.
However, it seems the reason why his contract extension stalled at Bayern and opened up this avenue has been released, with a report from BILD claiming that Davies demanded €20 million as his salary.
Bayern, with a very strict wage cap, were never happy to pay this much money, with even Harry Kane earning just over €20 million.
Madrid, on the other hand, seem to be happy to comply with Davies’ demands. Toni Kroos is their top-earner right now, reportedly, pocketing nearly €22 million in gross wages, with David Alaba, Luka Modric, and Vinicius Jr all on pretty much the €20 million mark.
Right now, Madrid are waiting on a green light from Bayern so they can send their first official bid for the player, which is expected to be in the region of €30-40 million.
They are not ready to pay anything more than €50 million for his services, especially with only one year remaining on his contract.