As the famous old saying goes ‘The King is dead, long live the King’. A phrase usually used for the demise of a monarch. However, there has been a different change of the guard at Real Madrid. It is Vinicius Junior who has emerged as the replacement to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Players like Isco, Gareth Bale, and Marco Asensio were expected to step up and carry on the legacy that the talismanic Portuguese had woven over the last decade. But while his departure from Madrid to Turin changed the dynamics of the Spanish giants, a new hero has stepped up to write his own legacy.
Amalgamation of Fearlessness and buoyancy:
Although the El-Clasico on Wednesday ended in a draw, it was Viniciu Jr. who was the most outstanding player on the pitch. It is no surprise to see the young winger play without fear. He was subjected to pressure and passion of the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A as a 16-year-old with Flamengo. It was at the Maracana Stadium, where all his qualities were on display for the world.
A price tag of €46 million is good enough for players to get distracted from the game, however, it failed to knock Vinicius Jr. off his upward trajectory. And, although, the former Los Blancos manager Julen Lopetegui had a long-term plan for the Brazilian prodigy, he did not last enough to reap the benefits of his foresight.
Instead, it is Santiago Solari, his successor, who has entrusted the 18-year-old to carry on from where Cristiano Ronaldo left. In the match against Deportiva Alaves, Vinicius Jr. was adjudged the man-of-the-match in the 3-0 win.
While his technicalities are clear for everyone, it is his confidence that sets him apart from the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Marcus Rashford. There have been many players who have come and gone with the weight of expectation at the Bernabeu - Van Nistelrooy, Kaka, and Gareth Bale among others. The club is under transition and many assumed there is no place for a teenager. However, Vinicius Jr. is different and is making them of the opportunity that came knocking at his door.
Strength to impose fear in opponents:
There are certain characters that one need to shine at Real Madrid, and Vinicius Jr. has got them in abundance. Skills, talent, confidence and a little of ‘chemical X’, and we get the Brazilian wonder kid. There is no place to hide with performances like the one in Barcelona and Deportivo.
When everything was going down for Los Blancos after Ronaldo’s departure and, every player had failed to step up, it was Vinicius Jr. who has emerged as a lifeline for Real Madrid.
The departure of the Portuguese talisman to Turin has provided Vinicius Jr with his chance, and it is Solari who has shown faith in someone so young. Playing a free-flowing football and showing maturity which players normally take 5-6 years to reach, the 18-year-old seems to have a bright future ahead. His technical attributes will inevitably endear him to both sets of demanding fans.
Acceptance of the Madridistas
It is hard when it comes to getting an achievement from the Madridistas. Only few players in the past have been hailed by the crazy fans of Madrid, last being Ronaldo. It is not a surprise as emulating achievements as that of Ronaldo at the Bernabeu is a different ball game altogether.
Vinicius Jr. is still many goals, appearances, and years away from reaching the god-like level that Ronaldo has reached. But the young Brazilian has managed to fill 25% if not 100% of the void created after Ronaldo’s departure. This in itself is enough to endear him to the Madridistas who crave to see their team represented by attacking brilliance.
Vinicius Jr. has started taking the first steps in building what could be a glorious career, and football fans are keeping a close eye on his growth. His flair and confidence as a winger are already forcing comparisons with the likes of Isco and Bale. However, the two have struggled to make their mark on the Madridistas, while Vinicius Jr has been going full throttle towards making his own name at the club.
Video: Vinicius Junior