If one were to choose Real Madrid’s most influential players from last season, Vinicius Jr would be very high on the list. The youngster took Europe by storm, scoring goals for fun across all competitions.
In 35 league appearances last season, he found the back of the net 17 times and provided ten assists. In addition, he scored four goals and recorded six assists in the UCL including the winning goal in the finals.
Earlier this week, the forward gave an interview to Que Papinho in which he talked about several topics ranging from his goal against Liverpool to his relationship with other players in the dressing room.
The Brazilian protege first opened up about his ‘best friend’ in football, Lucas Paqueta and described their special bond.
“Me and Paqueta always meet. He was in the stadium in the match against City to see me. He will forever be my best friend in football.”
Ironically, he then revealed that he did not like giving interviews and that he usually found questions repetitive.
“I don’t really like to give interviews, I find it boring, they always ask the same questions.”
Vinicius’s goal against Liverpool secured Los Blancos’ record 14th Champions League title. The youngster described the overwhelming moment and said that it was the best feeling in the world.
“Every time I watch the goal (UCL final), I get emotional. I don’t think there’s anything better in the world than this.”
Last season, a controversial clip involving Karim Benzema emerged on the internet wherein the Frenchman was seen asking his teammates not to pass the ball to Vinicius. The Brazilian gave his thoughts on the story and added that he had great affection for his teammate.
“The controversy with Benzema? He called me after it and said ‘you know I like you a lot, what they said wasn’t right’ and I believe him, I have great affection for him.”
He was then asked if he considered himself a role model at the club after his impressive season last year. However, the youngster instantly denied it and reiterated that he was only at the beginning of his career.
“No, I’m only 21 years old. I want to follow players like Karim, Modric, Marcelo, who won 5 UCL titles. I want to get as close to them as possible. That’s when someone can call me that.”
The Ballon d’Or is a prize every footballer dreams of lifting one day. The 21-year-old admitted that it is a desire of his but insisted that he had a lot of time.
”It’s something that has to come naturally. Karim is 35 years old and now he will win it, Modric won it at 33, I have many years to evolve, a very long road for if God wants me to win it one day.”
Karim Benzema was one of the best players in the world last year. He was one of the major pillars in Real Madrid’s run in the Champions League as he broke record after record. When asked about Benzema, Vinicius said,
“Benzema repays the affection I have for him. He was a player I followed. I’m a big fan and being able to play with him today is incredible. He recently in an interview put me in his top 5 in the world so I’m really happy.”
The interviewers then proceeded to ask the 21-year-old where he would rank himself amongst the world’s best, to which he cheekily replied,
“I’ll leave that to the people, but remember I scored a goal in the final, a goal in the semi’s and an assist in the quarters (laughs).”
Finishing has been an area in which the winger has struggled in recent years. It was only in the recent season that Vinicius found his scoring boots and terrorized goalkeepers. When asked about the same, he said,
“Yeah, people talk but the last season is always the one that stays. People don’t remember that in my first season I won the best player of the month twice and got injured.”
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.