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Vinicius Jr talks Ancelotti, Modric, Neymar, Raphinha, Tite, dance celebrations at World Cup

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Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

The past year or so has been a hugely memorable one for Real Madrid and Brazil superstar Vinicius Jr. The 22-year-old attacker enjoyed great success at the club, winning the La Liga title, and the UEFA Champions League crown, among other titles.

Now, he has established himself as a key starter for Brazil at the FIFA World Cup 2022 and has been pivotal in their quarter-final run in Qatar.

It has not come easy for the Samba star, who has had to deal with plenty of criticism in the early parts of his career and is constantly being targeted by opposition defenders on the pitch. But he has been able to put it all behind him and emerge as a top star for club and country.

Ahead of Brazil’s World Cup quarter-final tie against Croatia, Vinicius interacted with the media (h/t MARCA), during which he discussed a host of topics ranging from the role of Carlo Ancelotti in his career, to facing Luka Modric in the next game.

Kicking things off, Vinicius thanked the people who have supported him from his native of Sao Goncalo, saying: “I am very happy with all those who helped me, who are proud of where I have arrived. Every day I work harder to make them prouder.”

On having achieved so much in his young career, the Real Madrid superstar said: “I am very happy with the goals I set for my life and with having achieved some of them at the age of 22. I want to keep working as I have done to be here now. I play with the best, in Brazil and at Real Madrid.”

The forward also opened up on how he has managed to establish himself as a regular starter for Brazil at a World Cup no less, stating: “It’s been a normal process. The technical committee and the coach have been giving me what I needed to reach my best level.

“The national team is very complicated, the manager has many options. Every time I came here I went back with something I needed to be a starter.

“I’ve always spoken on the phone with Tite, with Ancelotti, who has also given me a lot of advice to be a starter here. I’m very happy to have started the competition so well, but I don’t want to continue like this until the end.”

Opening up on Ancelotti and Tite, Vinicius added: “I always try to improve, here and at my club. Ancelotti helps me a lot, as does Tite; they are very similar. In every game, I try to be more aggressive in marking, give more assists, score more goals and be more important for the team.”

The Real Madrid forward further highlighted the importance of Ancelotti in his success, claiming that the Italian tactician was a father figure to him.

“He has always given me the confidence and affection I need, he is like a father to me. He does for me and for all the players,” Vinicius said.

Vinicius says Ancelotti is like a father to him (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

“Ronaldo says that Ancelotti was his best coach, and it’s not only in the technical and tactical part, but also in the part of living with the footballer, of dealing with great players. I want to send him a big hug, I’m happy for his affection, he always sends me messages.”

Vinicius also spoke about his Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric, who he will be facing in the quarter-finals of the World Cup this weekend. The 22-year-old insisted that the veteran is constantly helping him learn and evolve, saying:

“It’s always very difficult to play against players with so much quality, and Modric has always taught me a lot, he continues to do so every day so that I continue to evolve. He’s an example, someone 37 years old playing at that level is a rare thing.

“Players like him, Cristiano, Thiago Silva, who are at an age that is no longer normal to perform like that and who are making it normal. I’m happy to play against him and may the best player win.”

Talking about playing and sharing the dressing room with his idol, Neymar, Vinicius said: “It’s a dream come true. I followed his entire career, he had always been my biggest idol and I wanted to do what he did on the pitch.

“Over time he became my friend, today he is like a brother who gives me a lot of advice. Every game, before it starts, he takes all the pressure off me, also Raphinha, Paqueta, Richarlison, the younger players…. He takes it on himself.

“He also has the peace of mind that he can trust us. To be with him is to live a dream that not everyone can. He’s our best player, the idol of the majority here.”

On having to share the responsibility of being the main man for Brazil with Neymar, the Real Madrid ace added: “We are 26 players here and each one takes part of the responsibility so that it is not too heavy for anyone.

“Those who play more will have more responsibility, but nobody is free and I’m not afraid of that responsibility. I want to be at my best so that I can help the team not only with goals, but also by going down to defend, which is also important.”

Vinicius also spoke about Brazil teammate and Barcelona winger Raphinha, backing him to come good and score goals at the World Cup after missing some chances in the past matches.

“It’s normal that he wants to score and hopefully his goal will come at an important moment. He is very calm. Raphinha has done very well,” he added.

Following the criticism he received from some sections in Spain over his dancing celebrations, Brazil have made it a point to pull out different dances each time they score a goal. It has attracted the ire of some critics again, but Vinicius insisted the Selecao will continue doing it.

“The goal is the most important moment in football, in the World Cup we get very happy, the players and the whole country. We still have a lot of celebrations to do, hopefully we can keep doing a lot of dances and playing well to get to the final with this rhythm,” he said.

“People like to complain when they see someone happy… and we Brazilians are always very happy.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid intensify negotiations for Ligue 1 defender with Nacho on his way out

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Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images

Now that Nacho is ready to join Al Qadsiah, Real Madrid have decided to ramp up their efforts to sign Lille defender Leny Yoro, reports Jose Felix Diaz via MARCA.

As reported before, Nacho has decided to end his career with the Spanish club as he has agreed to a two-year contract with Al Qadsiah in the Saudi Pro League. With Nacho leaving, Real Madrid now have a spot open in their defence and are eager to fill it with Yoro.

It is important to note that Yoro has attracted a lot of interest from other clubs. Paris Saint-Germain have been particularly active in trying to sign him, offering €60 million for the player. 

Although this offer is close to what Lille wants, Yoro isn’t interested in moving to PSG.

What Yoro is looking forward to is joining Real Madrid. While the player and Real Madrid have a verbal agreement, the deal with Lille still needs to be finalised soon.

What about the transfer fee?

Regarding the transfer fee, Real Madrid are hesitant to match PSG’s €60 million offer because Yoro has only one year left on his contract. 

Real Madrid want to close the signing of Leny Yoro. (Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

Initially, the club planned to wait until June 30 to begin serious negotiations. However, due to the increasing interest from clubs like PSG, Manchester United, and Liverpool, they might need to speed up the process.

With Nacho leaving, Real Madrid now has the necessary room to strengthen their defence and Yoro fits the bill. 

Madrid already have Yoro in plans

It must be noted that the club’s management, in accordance with Carlo Ancelotti, is already planning next season’s lineup of centre-backs. 

They expect Rafa Marin to leave, so the defensive lineup for coach Carlo Ancelotti is likely to include Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba, and possibly Yoro if they can complete the negotiations successfully.

Real Madrid are focusing on building a strong defence for the upcoming season. They see Yoro as a valuable addition and are working hard to secure his transfer. 

The next steps involve reaching an agreement with Lille and finalizing the transfer details as soon as possible.

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