NewsIs Vinicius Junior ready for Real Madrid? How the world's most expensive teen is doing at Flamengo

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Is Vinicius Junior ready for Real Madrid? How the world's most expensive teen is doing at Flamengo

Ungelesener Beitragvon chanoudom » Sa Feb 17, 2018 3:47 am

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[size=200][b]Is Vinicius Junior ready for Real Madrid? How the world's most expensive teen is doing at Flamengo

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Real Madrid-bound Brazilian youngster Vinicius Junior made headlines last week, celebrating a goal for Flamengo which upset rivals Botafogo, and prompted compatriot Neymar to come out in his defence.

The most expensive teenager in the world - who will join the Spanish giants on his 18th birthday on July 12, 2018 - has had a testing first year as a professional, but the coming months should see him grab attention for the right reasons.

World Football Index's South American correspondent Adam Brandon charts his progress…

When Vinicius agreed his staggering £38m switch to Real Madrid in May last year, plenty of questions were asked of the Spanish club's judgement.

At that point in time, Vinicius had not even made his competitive debut for Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club.

He had, though, been the star man and top scorer at the U17 South American Youth Championships in Chile, scoring seven goals. That was enough to persuade Real Madrid to part with a record fee for a teenager, a move which was possibly spurred on by their experience of missing out on Neymar to rivals Barcelona in 2013.

When Vinicius did eventually make his debut in May last year, all eyes were on the wiry, fleet-footed Brazilian at a packed Maracana, as Flamengo searched for a winner on the opening weekend of the season.

The then 16-year-old seemingly tried every trick and flick in his repertoire after coming off the bench to a hero's welcome with minutes to go. But none of them came off, and the match petered out to a draw. The crowd displayed their disapproval on the final whistle, by booing Vinicius and his team-mates off the park.

As dealing with expectation goes, Flamengo could prove the perfect environment for Vinicius to prepare himself for a move to Real Madrid. Although the Brazilian club rarely meet their objectives, the pressure to perform is always immense.

Despite being widely mocked after his debut, Vinicius had already shown in that late cameo that he has one attribute which could well take him far - fearlessness.

His bravery on the ball allowed the young star to showcase glimpses of his talent throughout 2017, even if meaningful impacts for much of the campaign were hard to come by.

Tellingly, his best performances came in two of the four matches he started, in which he was able to grab two goals and an assist.

However, by end of the year the talented youngster was starting to influence matches from the bench too, helping his side to vital triumphs.

He entered the fray in a fierce Rio de Janeiro derby against Fluminense in December. This game had the added spice of being a Copa Sudamericana semi-final, this being the second leg of the tie with Flamengo needing two goals to qualify for the final.

Vinicius would prove to be the spark they needed.

Receiving the ball wide on the left, Vinicius played a pass with the outside of his right boot into Everton Ribeiro, whose exquisite flick played in 20-year-old Felipe Vizeu to finish.

Minutes later Flamengo grabbed an equaliser to go through 4-3 on aggregate. This time the packed Maracana showered the teenager and his team-mates in praise.

The youngster took that momentum into his next match, where he inspired a 2-1 win away to Vitoria which secured Flamengo's place in the group stages of the Copa Libertadores. Coming off the bench with 30 minutes to go, and his side a goal down, Vinicius played a part in both the goals with some impressive dribbling.

Nevertheless, for this to look like good business for Real Madrid, the 17-year-old will need to make more of this kind of impact, more often.

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