Real Madrid

Vinicius Junior credits Carlo Ancelotti for Real Madrid rise

Tom Gott
Vinicius is loving life at Real Madrid
Vinicius is loving life at Real Madrid / Fran Santiago/GettyImages
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Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior has praised manager Carlo Ancelotti for giving him the confidence needed to take his game to the next level.

Once seen as a speedy winger with a complete lack of composure in front of goal, the 21-year-old has developed that killer instinct this season, firing home ten goals in 17 games in all competitions and adding a further seven assists for good measure.

That form has seen some, including the interviewer at Cadena SER, describe Vinicius as the best player in La Liga, but the young Brazilian was keen to avoid praising himself that highly and instead deflected the praise on to his managers.

"They've all helped me - [Santiago] Solari, [Zinedine] Zidane and now Carlo. With him, I have more confidence, more minutes, more time to do things right. After three years training a lot, it has really helped, but now Ancelotti has arrived and has given me the confidence I need.

"Confidence is important for all players, but now I think I'm ready for this role. Before, I don't know if I was, but now I am. I am prepared to be at the top and continue to help the team for a long time and many seasons.

"Now I am 21 years old, before I was younger. I came from Brazil at the age of 18. I had barely played a year of first-team football and I came to Real Madrid, the best team in the world with many great players. I came to learn. I have learned and I will continue to learn every day."

Vinicius is loving life at Real, but things could have been so different as he wasn't far from joining Barcelona instead of Los Blancos.

"The two clubs moved for me, but I decided on Real Madrid because of the project and what they could do for me," he stressed. "I thought it was the best project for me and it was the club with which I had the most affinity.

"I always loved Real Madrid, I always loved Cristiano Ronaldo and all the players. I made the right choice and I want to stay here for a long time."

Vinicius was keen to put rumours that he is a Barcelona fan to bed, but he could not help but laugh when reminded of the speculation that he actually cried when Barcelona were thumped 6-1 by Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

"I was playing for Brazil that day - I think that's the game that made Real sign me," he recalled. "I was the best player, top scorer...and then I signed with Real Madrid.

"When I was little I didn't really watch a lot of games. I was always playing football with my friends and I didn't even see that game."

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