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Vinicius Jr talks Benzema, Sancho, UCL final goal, Ballon d’Or ambitions, World Cup



Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Tipped for greatness ever since he burst onto the scenes in Brazil, Vinicius Jr has well and truly taken the step towards superstardom over the past couple of years.

The Brazilian enjoyed a spectacular 2021/22 campaign, in particular, playing an integral role in Real Madrid’s La Liga and UEFA Champions League triumphs.

The 22-year-old scored the only goal of the game in the Champions League final against Liverpool.

In a recent interview with Sport Bible, Vinicius opened up on the feeling of being the match-winner for Real Madrid on the biggest stage, saying: “I think it was certainly the most important goal of my career. The most beautiful, the most special.”

“It was a very important moment, winning the Champions League at 22 and scoring in the final. It will be remembered forever, even more so being at a club that wins so much and loves this competition.”

The Brazilian speedster however insisted that he does not intend to stop at that and wishes to continue scoring such vital goals for Los Blancos.

“I’m very happy, but I don’t want to stop there. There are a lot of Champions Leagues ahead and I want to win as many as possible,” he added.

One of the most important players at Real Madrid currently, Vinicius is understood to have penned a new long-term contract with the club, although an announcement has not yet been made.

When asked if he does not dream of playing in another competition like the Premier League, the 22-year-old insisted that he wants to spend his entire career at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“It is true that I’m very happy here at Real Madrid and I think I will play here until the end of my career. Of course, experiencing another league is important and I think the Premier League is a league that every player wants to play in. But my dream is and always was to play for Real Madrid.”

In recent times, Vinicius has come face-to-face with many English opponents in the Champions League. When asked to pick the toughest defenders he has faced, the Real Madrid ace named Chelsea’s Reece James and Kyle Walker of Manchester City.

“I’ve played against a lot of them and the most difficult opponents were Chelsea’s [Reece] James and [Kyle] Walker, of Manchester City,” said Vinicius.

Vinicius named Reece James as one of his most toughest opponents (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Real Madrid forward also revealed that he is very close with Manchester United and England winger Jadon Sancho, saying:

“I am very close to Sancho, who I played against in youth football. I always wish him the best. We always swap messages and I’m very happy when he scores or plays well.”

Vinicius came eighth in the Ballon d’Or rankings this year, with his teammate Karim Benzema going on to win the golden orb. On being asked whether he has ambitions to win the award in the near future, the 22-year-old replied:

“I’m always very relaxed when I play. I think about the best for my team, try to do my best and be the best version of myself. If in the future I can be the best in the world… that depends on how my season goes. I have to keep working and improving to keep achieving my dreams.”

At the same time, he also hailed Benzema, saying: “I’m very happy with Karim’s performance last season and happy for having contributed a bit to him being the best in the world, having worked so hard playing at the biggest club in the world.”

“It’s always very difficult and he is very dedicated and deserves this award a lot.”

Vinicius also spoke about representing Brazil in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar next month and the possibility of winning the tournament, although he admitted that there will be a lot of hurdles for Selecao.

“It’s a little bit difficult, right? The best team is always the team that won the last World Cup. I think France are the best at the moment. But at the World Cup that can change and there are a lot of teams with a good chance of winning,” Vinicius stated.

“Argentina is doing very well, Brazil, England, Germany… they are all teams that will be strong in this World Cup – and may Brazil win! I think I will be playing; it is going to be a very special World Cup for me and for everyone with high hopes for Brazil. After so long, to have a strong team – it is important for us.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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