Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [viˈnisjuz ʒoˈzɛ pajˈʃɐ̃w̃ dʒi oliˈvejɾɐ ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born 12 July 2000), commonly known as Vinícius Júnior or Vini Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for La Liga club Real Madrid and the Brazil national team. Considered one of the best players in the world, he is known for his pace and dribbling ability.

Vinícius Júnior
Vinícius in 2021
Personal information
Full name Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior[1]
Date of birth (2000-07-12) 12 July 2000 (age 23)[2]
Place of birth São Gonçalo, Brazil[2]
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Position(s) Forward
Team information
Current team
Real Madrid
Number 7
Youth career
2005–2017 Flamengo
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2017–2018 Flamengo 50 (11)
2018 Real Madrid B 5 (4)
2018– Real Madrid 176 (49)
International career
2015–2016 Brazil U15 10 (7)
2016–2017 Brazil U17 19 (17)
2018–2019 Brazil U20 4 (0)
2019– Brazil 30 (3)
Medal record
Men's football
Representing  Brazil
Copa América
Runner-up 2021 Brazil
South American U-17 Championship
Winner 2017 Chile
South American U-15 Championship
Winner 2015 Colombia
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 20:57, 25 May 2024 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 02:42, 13 June 2024 (UTC)

Born in São Gonçalo, Vinícius began his professional career at Flamengo, where he made his senior debut in 2017, at age 16. A few weeks later, Vinícius was the subject of a transfer to La Liga club Real Madrid, for whom he signed in a £38 million deal, which was a national record for an U-18 player.[3] The transfer was made effective after his 18th birthday, with Vinícius debuting for the club in 2018–19. By his fourth season, Vinícius had established himself as a prominent member in Real Madrid's squad, helping the club win the 2021–22 La Liga title[4] and scoring the winning goal in Real Madrid's 2022 UEFA Champions League final win.[5] After winning his second Champions League title with Real Madrid, Vini Jr. was voted as the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Player of the Season.[6]

At his youth stage for Brazil, he was a key player in the victory at the 2015 South American U-15 Championship and 2017 South American U-17 Championship, finishing as leading goalscorer in the latter competition. He made his senior debut in 2021 and helped his nation to a runner-up finish at the 2021 Copa América and represented them at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Club career

Early career

His footballing career began in 2006, when his father took him to the branch offices of Flamengo, in the neighborhood of Mutuá, in São Gonçalo where he lived. His club document described him as a left-back.

Hailing from a poor Catholic family,[7] Vinícius went to live in Abolição with his uncle, Ulisses, to shorten the distance to Ninho do Urubu (the "Vultures' Nest"). He started to receive financial aid from Flamengo as well as aid from entrepreneurs.[8]

Between 2007 and 2010, Vinícius attended futsal classes at Flamengo's school in São Gonçalo at the Canto do Rio, a famous club located in the centre of Niterói. Flamengo noted his potential and he decided he wanted to play football, not futsal. In August 2010, Vinícius had a trial to play for the Flamengo youth team, and he accepted an invitation to play for their football team.[9] Before, in 2009, when Vinícius was nine, he took a futsal trial for Flamengo, he was asked to come back the following year.[citation needed]


Vinícius playing for Flamengo in 2018

Vinícius debuted for Flamengo on 13 May 2017 as an 82nd-minute substitute in a Brazilian Série A 1–1 draw against Atlético Mineiro.[10][11] Two days later he extended his contract with the club from 2019 until 2022, with a significant salary increase and a buyout clause increase from €30 million to €45 million.[12] This contract renewal was reported as being part of the transfer process of Vinícius to Real Madrid, an agreement reached between the two clubs in Gávea that week with an obligation to sell the young player in July 2018.[13]

On 10 August 2017, Vinícius scored the first professional goal of his career in a Copa Sudamericana second round leg 2 match against Palestino in a 5–0 win for Flamengo. He scored one goal, 30 seconds after being substituted on in the 72nd minute. On 19 August, he scored his first Brazilian Série A goals for Flamengo, in a 2–0 win against Atlético Goianiense.[14][15][16][17][18][excessive citations]

Real Madrid

On 23 May 2017, La Liga club Real Madrid signed a contract to acquire Vinícius, effective after his 18th birthday on 12 July 2018 (as age 18 is the minimum age for international transfer).[19] He transferred for a reported fee of €46 million, which was at the time, the second most expensive sale of a player in the history of Brazilian football (behind only Neymar), the largest amount received by a Brazilian club for a transfer, and the highest amount ever paid by a club for a footballer under the age of 19.[20][21] He was originally scheduled to return to Brazil on loan in July 2018.[19]

2018–21: Development and adaptation to Spain

On 20 July 2018, he was officially presented as a Real Madrid player.[22] He was issued squad number 28.[23] He made his debut on 29 September, coming in as an 87th-minute substitute in a goalless draw against Atlético Madrid.[24] Vinícius made his first start on 31 October in a 4–0 Copa del Rey away victory against Melilla,[25] contributing with assists for both Marco Asensio and Álvaro Odriozola in what Marca recognised as a Man of the Match performance.[23] He scored his first goal on 3 November 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute in a 2–0 victory against Real Valladolid.[26] He scored four goals between his debut on 29 September and 7 February 2019.[27] On 6 March, he tore a ligament during a loss to Ajax, which ended his season.[28]

On 11 December 2019, he scored his first UEFA Champions League goal in a 3–1 away win over Club Brugge in the 2019–20 season.[29] On 1 March 2020, he scored the first goal in a 2–0 win for Real in El Clásico against Barcelona.[30] He made 29 appearances during the league season, while scoring three goals, as Real Madrid won the 2019–20 La Liga.[31]

On 6 April 2021, Vinícius scored two goals in a 3–1 win against Liverpool in the first leg of the 2020–21 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.[32] Real Madrid would advance to the semi-finals where they lost to eventual champions Chelsea.[33]

2021–22: First-team breakthrough, second league title, UEFA Champions League winner

Vinícius Jr. in a trophy presentation ceremony at Virgin of Almudena in 2022

Vinícius started the 2021–22 season by scoring Real Madrid's fourth goal in a 4–1 away victory over Alavés on the opening day of the La Liga campaign.[34] On 22 August, he scored a brace in a 3–3 draw against Levante coming off the bench, which earned him a first-team place, ahead of Eden Hazard.[35] On 30 October, he scored twice as Real Madrid won 2–1 at Elche to go top of the La Liga table.[36] The goals were his sixth and seventh of the league season and his eighth and ninth overall, surpassing his total output of six goals in all competitions during the 2020–21 season in just 14 matches.[36] On 12 May 2022, he scored his first hat-trick for Real Madrid in a 6–0 victory over Levante.[37]

On 28 May, he scored the only goal in a 1–0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final to clinch Madrid their record 14th UEFA Champions League title.[38] Vinícius ended the 2021–22 season as Real Madrid's second-best goalscorer with 22 goals in all competitions, only behind his attacking partner Karim Benzema.[39] For his performances Vinícius was named the inaugural Champions League young player of the season[40] and included in the 2021–22 UEFA Champions League team of the season.[41]

2022–23: FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball, Champions League semi-finals, and inheritance of No. 7 shirt

On 11 February, Real Madrid defeated Al-Hilal 5–3 in the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup final as Vinícius scored a brace to claim the tournament's best player award and his second Club World Cup title.[42] On 21 February 2023, Vinícius scored two first-half goals to power Real Madrid's 5–2 comeback win at Anfield against Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League knockout stage round of 16 tie.[43][44]

On 9 May 2023, Vinícius made a significant contribution to Real Madrid's performance in the first leg of the semi-final against Manchester City, scoring a remarkable long-range goal in the 36th minute.[45] Alongside teammates Rodrygo and Karim Benzema, he created numerous opportunities, showcasing Real Madrid's counter-attacking prowess against Manchester City's dominant possession.[46] The match ultimately ended in a 1–1 draw.[47] However, in the second leg of the semi-final, Real Madrid suffered a crushing 4–0 defeat against City, thereby ending their campaign for the Champions League title.[48][49] He was selected in the 2022–23 UEFA Champions League team of the tournament.[50]

In the aftermath of Hazard's departure, Real Madrid confirmed that Vinícius, who previously wore the No. 20 shirt, would be sporting the club's iconic No. 7 jersey, once worn by Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl, from 2023–24 season onwards.[51][52]

2023–24: Decisive La Liga contributions, injury recovery, contract extension and second Champions League trophy

On 19 August 2023, Vinícius scored the decisive goal in a La Liga match against Almería, contributing to Real Madrid's victory alongside teammate Jude Bellingham, who netted the previous two goals.[53] On 25 August 2023, Vinícius sustained an injury to his right biceps femoris muscle during a league match against Celta, a game that Real Madrid ultimately won 1–0.[54][55] On 27 September 2023, Vinícius made his return to play in a league fixture against Las Palmas after recovering from his injury.[56] On 3 October, he got his first Champions League goal of the season, netting the 1–1 equaliser in Madrid's away game against Napoli, which eventually ended in a 3–2 win.[57]

Real Madrid announced on 31 October 2023 that they had extended Vinícius' contract until 30 June 2027.[58][59] On 14 January 2024, he scored a hat-trick in a 4–1 victory over Barcelona in the Supercopa de España final.[60] On 30 April, he netted a brace in a 2–2 away draw against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg; hence, he managed to score at that round for the third consecutive season, in addition to reaching at least 20 goals in all competitions for the third straight season.[61]

On 1 June 2024, he scored in Real Madrid's 2–0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the 2024 UEFA Champions League Final, winning his second trophy in the competition.[62] Aged 23 years and 325 days, Vinícius became the youngest player to score in two Champions League finals, beating Lionel Messi's record by thirteen days.[63] Two days later, Vinícius was named the UEFA Champions League Player of the Season, registering six goals and five assists in Madrid's trophy-winning campaign.[64]

International career

2015–2019: Success at youth level

On 30 October 2015, Vinícius Júnior was called up for Brazil by coach Guilherme Dalla Déa for the South American U-15 Championship. Vinícius and Brazil won the U-15 title and he was the 2nd top-scorer of the tournament with seven goals. He was named player of the tournament and continued to perform which helped him convince Flamengo to sign him by the age of 16.[65] On 24 June 2016, Vinícius was called up for a friendly against Chile U-17 and scored two goals and provided two assists in the 4–2 victory.

In March 2017, Vinícius debuted in the South American U-17 Championship for Brazil with a goal in a 3–0 victory over Peru.[66] In the final stage, he scored two goals in a 3–0 win over Ecuador and two goals in a 3–0 victory over Colombia, securing Brazil's place in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, where Brazil (without Vinícius Júnior) eventually would finish third.[67][68][69] After leading Brazil to win the South American U-17 Championship, Vinícius Júnior was named the tournament's best player and was top goal-scorer with seven goals.[70]

2019–2022: Senior and World Cup debuts

Vinicius with Brazil in 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage match against Serbia

On 28 February 2019, Vinícius was called up to the Brazil national team for the first time for friendlies against Panama and the Czech Republic.[71] However, he suffered an injury while playing for Real Madrid, and David Neres was called up in his place in March.[72] In May, he was excluded from Brazil's final 23-man squad for the 2019 Copa América by manager Tite.[73] He made his senior international debut on 10 September, as a 72nd-minute substitute in Brazil's 1–0 defeat to Peru.[74]

Vinícius was named in Brazil's 2021 Copa América squad by Tite on 9 June 2021, which would be held on home soil.[75] He made a substitute appearance in his nation's 1–0 defeat to rivals Argentina in the final on 10 July.[76]

On 24 March 2022, Vinícius scored his debut goal for the national team, in a 4–0 home win over Chile in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match at the Maracanã Stadium.[77]

On 7 November 2022, Vinícius was named in the Brazil squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup by Tite.[78] In the opening group match against Serbia on 24 November, he set-up Richarlison's second goal to help Brazil to a 2–0 victory.[79] He scored his first FIFA World Cup goal in a 4–1 win against South Korea in the round of 16 on 5 December, also setting up Lucas Paquetá's goal, helping Brazil qualify for the quarter-finals,[80] where they were eliminated by Croatia four days later following a 4–2 penalty shoot-out loss after a 1–1 draw.[81]

On 26 March 2024, Vinícius captained the national team for the first time in a friendly against Spain at the Santiago Bernabéu, his club's home ground.[82]

Style of play and reception

Vinícius playing for Real Madrid in 2018

Shortly after his arrival at Real Madrid in July 2018, ESPN journalist Dermot Corrigan described Vinícius as a "zippy left winger or second striker".[83] A versatile player, although he is usually deployed on the left flank, he is capable of playing anywhere along the front line, and has also been used on the right or in the centre.[84] Possessing explosive acceleration, and excellent pace, agility, balance, technique, flair, dribbling skills, and close control at speed, as well as significant power, physical strength, and trickery on the ball, despite his slender build,[85][86][87][88][89][90][excessive citations] he is known for his movement, energy, ability to run at defences, change direction quickly, and beat opponents in one on one situations while in possession of the ball.[88][91][92][93][excessive citations]

Regarded as a promising young player,[85][86][94] he is considered to be a dynamic, intelligent, hard-working, and nimble winger, with a low centre of gravity, as well as impressive passing and awareness. Moreover, he is known in for his eye for the final ball, and ability to provide assists to teammates, which make him an effective playmaker. Although he is also capable of scoring goals himself,[85][87][90] his shooting and goalscoring were initially cited by pundits as areas in need of improvement,[87][92] as his lack of end product was often a source of criticism in the media in his first few seasons at Real Madrid.[39][95] In June 2017, Vinícius appeared at 39th place on The Telegraph's list of the best under-21 players in the world. He was the only player playing in South America at the time to appear on the list.[96] In November 2018, former Argentina international frontman José Luis Calderón credited Vinícius' "general enthusiasm, his ability to make things happen, the joy and good vibrations he transmits, his speed, the fact he's different and the fact he's daring. To sum up, he has a spark that could be used by a team that has been plain in recent matches".[97] In his youth with Flamengo, he was criticised, however, by several football figures, fans, and the press for "doing too many tricks," and for "[t]oo much individualism, not enough teamwork."[98]

During the 2021–22 season, Vinícius had a breakthrough season with Real Madrid, and his goal scoring and assist output increased dramatically, enabling him to form an effective offensive partnership from the left wing with striker Karim Benzema.[99] Regarding his change in form, Vinícus commented in December 2021: "I think I've improved in many things, but above all in my calmness in my play, I'm doing things with more tranquillity and more quality too."[100] The club's manager Carlo Ancelotti also praised him for his defensive work-rate and positioning, in addition to his creative abilities[101] and talent, noting that he was able to improve upon his tactical knowledge and physical condition throughout the course of the season,[39] as well as his finishing.[98] His performances led the Spanish press to compare him to compatriot Neymar.[102] Following his goal in Real Madrid's victory in the 2022 Champions League final, Neymar himself described Vinícius as "the best player in the world."[103] Later that month, Ed McCambridge of FourFourTwo ranked Vinícius as the second–best left winger in the world.[104] Vinícius was also used in a free role as a left-sided forward or striker in a 4–3–1–2 formation during the 2023–24 season by manager Carlo Ancelotti; in this position, although he operated in more central areas, he was still given the freedom to move out wide or switch positions and link-up with Rodrygo on the other side of the pitch.[105][106]


Anti-racism activism

In a few isolated incidents in 2023, Vinícius was subjected to racist slurs and chants from football fans in Spain, including an effigy of him being hanged from a bridge in Madrid.[107][108] On 23 May 2023, four men were arrested by the Spanish Police in connection with the effigy.[109] In response, Vinícius condemned La Liga for what he perceived as normalization of racism, and advocated for more stringent measures and penalties to combat racist behaviour.[110] On 22 May 2023, Real Madrid released an official statement strongly condemning the racist abuse against Vinícius, viewing it as a direct attack on the democratic coexistence model of Spain; the club reported the incident as a "hate crime" to the Attorney General's Office, reserving its right to act as a private prosecutor in any ensuing proceedings.[111] On 15 June 2023, Vinícius was selected by FIFA president Gianni Infantino to lead a special FIFA anti-racism committee composed of players.[112][113]

Public response

Certain experts believe the global outrage and outpouring of support for Vinícius following his stand against racism could mark a turning point in the fight against racism in football and Spain in general.[114] Guy Hedgecoe of BBC News said the issue has transcended the borders of Spain and of sport, as public figures from around the world are acknowledging that for which he stands.[115] Brazilian president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva condemned racism and expressed his solidarity towards Vinícius while urging FIFA and other responsible football bodies to take the strongest actions possible.[116] Brazil's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue switched off its lights in a show of support for Vinícius following racial slurs from Valencia fans at the Mestalla Stadium in Spain.[117] Sean Gregory, writing for Time asserted: "The effects of racist abuse in the world’s most popular game are felt far beyond the stadium walls, that the ugliness persists in 2023 also on full, terrible display, at stadiums around the world is a forever stain on the so-called beautiful game."[118] In Rio de Janeiro, representatives of more than 150 activist groups and non-profits delivered a letter to Spain's consulate, demanding an investigation into the league and its president.[119] Flavio Dino, Brazil's minister of justice threatened Spain with applying principle of extraterritoriality over the Vinícius racism case, a penal code that protects Brazilian's human rights.[120] Seven time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton showed support for Vinícius, saying: "It’s devastating to think that in 2023 we’re still seeing and hearing these things. It can be so hurtful the things that people say. Firstly, I think he (Vinícius Jr) has been incredibly brave."[121] Various sporting figures from around the world, including coach Xavi, coach Carlo Ancelotti, pundit Rio Ferdinand, Real Madrid Femenino, and Real Madrid Baloncesto, as well as footballers Didier Drogba, Kylian Mbappé, Iñaki Williams, Raphinha, Ronaldo, Neymar, and Rafael Leão showered him array of praises and support.[122] An anti-racism law (Vini Jr law) was approved and named after him, which will see sporting events stopped or suspended in the event of a racist conduct in Brazil.[123][124] He also received awards from Rio's legislative assembly and city council and his footprints were added to the stadium's walk of fame, beside those of Brazilian greats such as Pelé, Garrincha and Ronaldo.[125] Vinícius received the Sócrates Award at the 2023 Ballon d'Or ceremony for his humanitarian projects and fight against racism.[126][127]

Education for all

In 2021, he founded the Instituto Vini Jr., an organisation to facilitate access to school for Brazilian children and teenagers from disadvantaged neighbourhoods.[128]

In 2023, he was awarded the Sócrates Award.[129]

In 2024, UNESCO appointed Vinícius Goodwill Ambassador for Education for All. He is the second footballer after Pelé to become a UNESCO ambassador.[130]

Outside football

Vinícius is a Roman Catholic.[131] He runs and funds a charitable institute in Rio – Instituto Vini Jr – an organisation that aims to use technology and sport to educate young Brazilians and, ultimately, alleviate some of the education related inequality in the country.[132][133][134]

Career statistics


As of match played 1 June 2024[135]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National cup[a] Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Flamengo 2017 Série A 25 3 4 0 7[b] 1 1[c] 0 37 4
2018 Série A 12 4 2 0 5[d] 2 13[e] 4 32 10
Total 37 7 6 0 12 3 14 4 69 14
Real Madrid Castilla 2018–19 Segunda División B 5 4 5 4
Real Madrid 2018–19 La Liga 18 1 8 2 3[f] 0 1[g] 0 31 3
2019–20 La Liga 29 3 3 1 5[f] 1 1[h] 0 38 5
2020–21 La Liga 35 3 1 0 12[f] 3 1[h] 0 49 6
2021–22 La Liga 35 17 2 0 13[f] 4 2[h] 1 52 22
2022–23 La Liga 33 10 5 3 12[f] 7 5[i] 3 55 23
2023–24 La Liga 26 15 1 0 10[f] 6 2[h] 3 39 24
Total 176 49 20 6 56 21 12 7 264 83
Career total 218 60 26 6 68 24 26 11 338 101
  1. ^ Includes Copa do Brasil, Copa del Rey
  2. ^ Appearances in Copa Sudamericana
  3. ^ Appearance in Primeira Liga
  4. ^ Appearances in Copa Libertadores
  5. ^ Appearances in Campeonato Carioca
  6. ^ a b c d e f Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  7. ^ Appearance in FIFA Club World Cup
  8. ^ a b c d Appearance(s) in Supercopa de España
  9. ^ Two appearances in Supercopa de España, one appearance in UEFA Super Cup, two appearances and three goals in FIFA Club World Cup


As of match played 12 June 2024[136]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Brazil 2019 1 0
2021 8 0
2022 11 2
2023 6 1
2024 4 0
Total 30 3
Scores and results list Brazil's goal tally first.
List of international goals scored by Vinícius Júnior
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 24 March 2022 Estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 12   Chile 2–0 4–0 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 5 December 2022 Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar 19   South Korea 1–0 4–1 2022 FIFA World Cup
3 17 June 2023 RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, Spain 22   Guinea 4–1 4–1 Friendly


Real Madrid

Brazil U15

Brazil U17



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