Why Vinicius jr has the potential to be one of the best in the world
Since his €46 million transfer to Real Madrid, Vinicius has progressed massively in his development. The 18-year-old started his Real Madrid career in the Castilla before he got promoted to the first team and he has continued to impress the coach since the day he made his debut.
The 18-year-old has earned a total of 15 starts and further 10 sub appearances under manager Santiago Solari, highlighting the importance of the 18-year-old to the team.
Before his move to Real Madrid, the Brazilian had already established himself as one of the key players in Brazilian club Flamengo, clocking 42 appearances for the club in all competitions since 2017.
He made his first-team debut for Flamengo at the age of 16. At the time, he was touted as the next big thing coming from Brazilian football as he kept lighting up the Brasileirao with scintillating performances on a consistent basis. His transfer fee of €46 million made him the 2nd most expensive player coming out of Brazil behind Neymar.
Style of play
Vinicius is a natural winger, although he can also play as a secondary striker in the 4-4-2 formation. Blessed with electric pace and flashy skills, the 18-year-old is able to run past defenders with ease.
He likes to take on his marker when played out wide and constantly finds the opportunity to cut inside and provide a direct goal threat, although he has a lot to improve in terms of his shooting accuracy.
Playing as a winger, the Brazilian likes to execute his smoothness and silkiness with the ball at his feet similarly to most Brazilian wingers. His desire to be entertaining as well as effective on the ball makes him a joy to watch and to be rightfully regarded as the next big thing in football.
His technical ability and the confidence to skilfully beat his marker in 1v1 situations makes his style of play reminiscent of Neymar or former Real Madrid and Brazilian winger Robinho.
As a second striker, the 18-year-old links the striker to the midfield and the wide players. He uses his close control and awareness to receive in between the line, before using his explosive pace and dribbling to burst past his marker.
He is very good with the ball at his feet and has the vision to pick the runs of his striker. His off the ball movements also makes him unpredictable and able to receive the ball in dangerous areas.
The Brazilian normally starts out wide before drifting inwards or in the half spaces to combine with the striker thus making him unpredictable and difficult to define. This tactical awareness gives the coach the flexibility and the ability to change the attacking structure at any point of the game.
Strength and Weaknesses
Vinicius plays with so much maturity that not so many players of his age can be accredited of having. At the age of 18, he is already a vital player for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Looking at his gameplay, you will realize the fact that he is always asking for the ball and looking for opportunities to carry it forward. He likes to take the attacking responsibility of the team by using his dribbling and creativity to create something out of nothing.
Vinicius is also hardworking off the ball and has brilliant tactical awareness for his age. Unlike many skillful wide players, who are only useful when in possession, the youngster’s ability to press the ball high up the pitch and also track back to provide cover to his fullback is something that is wonderful to see.
Last but not least is the wide range of attributes that he possesses. The Brazilian is blessed with brilliant dribbling technique, pace, vision, and the awareness to interpret and manipulate time and space. His sleek touch and close control also make him excel in tight spaces while the flair and flamboyance with the ball at his feet make him a joy to watch and a nightmare for defenders.
At 18 years, he has more room to improve his finishing and decision making, especially in the final third. His shooting from outside the box has not been impressive of late while his over-confidence often derail his decision making.
He needs to know to the right moment to either dribble, shoots or execute a pass a trait which comes along with experience. His final ball after exploding away from his marker also seems to be lacking as he doesn’t seem to get the required balance to execute a perfect cross once he accelerates away from his marker.