Vinícius Júnior

Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior (born 12 July 2000), commonly known as Vinícius Júnior or Vini Jr. (Brazilian Portuguese: [viˈnisjus ˈʒũɲoʁ]),[4] is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Brazil national team.

Vinícius Júnior
Vinicius Jr 2021.jpg
Vinícius Júnior in 2021
Personal information
Full name Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior[1]
Date of birth (2000-07-12) 12 July 2000 (age 21)[2]
Place of birth São Gonçalo, Brazil[2]
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[3]
Position(s) Forward
Club information
Current team
Real Madrid
Number 20
Youth career
2005–2017 Flamengo
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2017–2018 Flamengo 50 (11)
2018 Real Madrid Castilla 5 (4)
2018– Real Madrid 103 (20)
National team
2015–2016 Brazil U15 10 (7)
2016–2017 Brazil U17 19 (17)
2018–2019 Brazil U20 4 (0)
2019– Brazil 9 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:55, 23 January 2022 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 16 November 2021 (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 for in a national record for an U-18 player, R$191 million (€45 million) deal, which was made effective after his 18th birthday.[5]

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Vinícius Junior's football career began in the year 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 family, 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.[6]

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.

In 2009, when Vinícius was nine, he took a futsal trial for Flamengo. The club noted his potential, but given his young age, he was asked to come back the following year. However, he decided he wanted to play football, not futsal, and did not return. In August 2010, Vinícius passed his football tests at Flamengo.

FlamengoEdit

 
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.[7][8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11][12][13][14][15]

Real MadridEdit

On 23 May 2017, Spanish 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).[5] 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.[16][17] He was originally scheduled to return to Brazil on loan in July 2018.[5]

2018–21: Development and adaptation to SpainEdit

On 20 July 2018, he was officially presented as a Real Madrid player.[18] He was issued squad number 28.[19] He made his debut on 29 September, coming in as an 87th minute substitute in a goalless draw against Atlético Madrid.[20] Vinícius made his first start on 31 October in a 4–0 Copa del Rey away victory against Melilla,[21] contributing with assists for both Marco Asensio and Álvaro Odriozola in what Marca recognised as a Man of the Match performance.[19] He scored his first goal on 3 November, 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute in a 2–0 victory against Real Valladolid.[22] He scored four goals between his debut on 29 September and 7 February 2019.[23] On 6 March, he tore a ligament during a loss to Ajax, which ended his season.[24]

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.[25] On 1 March 2020, he scored the first goal in a 2–0 win for Real in El Clásico against Barcelona.[26] He made 29 appearances during the league season, while scoring three goals, as Real Madrid won the 2019–20 La Liga.[27]

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.[28] Real Madrid would advance to the semi-finals where they lost to eventual champions Chelsea.[29]

2021–22: First-team breakthroughEdit

Vinícius started the 2021–22 season by a scoring Real Madrid's fourth goal in a 4–1 away victory over Alavés on the opening day of the La Liga campaign.[30] On August 22, he scored a brace against Levante coming off the bench, which earned him a first-team place, ahead of Eden Hazard.[citation needed] On 30 October, he scored twice as Real Madrid won 2–1 at Elche to go top of the La Liga table.[31] 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.[31]

International careerEdit

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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34][35][36] 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.[37]

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.[38] However, he suffered an injury while playing for Real Madrid, and David Neres was called up in his place in March.[39] In May, he was excluded from Brazil's final 23-man squad for the 2019 Copa América by manager Tite.[40] He made his senior international debut on 10 September, as a 72nd-minute substitute in Brazil's 1–0 defeat to Peru.[41]

Vinícius was named in Brazil's 2021 Copa América squad on 9 June 2021.[42]

Style of playEdit

 
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".[43] El Mundo described him "A player who is forever tormented, teetering on the edge, on that invisible line between genius and ridicule. Judgment always hangs over him, a winger unable to make his legs and feet move in unison, but he never gives up and that is a great quality".[32] 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.[44] 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,[45][46][47][48][49][50] he is known for his movement, ability to run at defences, change direction quickly, and beat opponents in one on one situations while in possession of the ball.[48][51][52]

Regarded as a promising young player,[45][46][53] he is considered to be a diminutive, 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; although he is also capable of scoring goals himself,[45][47][50] his shooting and goalscoring have been cited by pundits as areas in need of improvement.[47][52] 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.[54] 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".[55]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of match played 23 January 2022[56]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Flamengo 2017 Série A 25 3 4 0 7[a] 1 1[b] 0 37 4
2018 Série A 12 4 2 0 5[c] 2 13[d] 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 2 8 2 4[e] 0 1[f] 0 31 4
2019–20 La Liga 29 3 3 1 5[e] 1 1[g] 0 38 5
2020–21 La Liga 35 3 1 0 12[e] 3 1[g] 0 49 6
2021–22 La Liga 21 12 1 0 6[e] 2 2[g] 1 30 15
Total 103 20 13 3 27 6 5 1 148 30
Career total 145 31 19 3 39 9 19 5 222 48
  1. ^ Appearances in Copa Sudamericana
  2. ^ Appearance in Primeira Liga
  3. ^ Appearances in Copa Libertadores
  4. ^ Appearances in Campeonato Carioca
  5. ^ a b c d Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  6. ^ Appearance in FIFA Club World Cup
  7. ^ a b c Appearances in Supercopa de España

InternationalEdit

As of match played 16 November 2021[57]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Brazil 2019 1 0
2021 8 0
Total 9 0

HonoursEdit

Real Madrid

Brazil U15

Brazil U17

Individual

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit