A Brazilian success story
It seemed only fitting that Real Madrid’s title celebrations were defined by a photo of forward Vinicius Junior and his manager Carlo Ancelotti posing for a truly ridiculous photo. In the midst of the party in Spain’s capital, the Italian manager looks to the camera with sunglasses on, smoking a cigar. Over his right shoulder is Vinicius Jr, smiling from ear to ear.
The BOSS pic.twitter.com/nSNQ6FY2sV
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) May 1, 2022
Often, footballers post images on social media that are edited to look dramatic or over exaggerate a situation, but this photo seemed genuine. And that’s because much of Madrid’s success this season has come from Ancelotti playing the calm and collected manager on the sidelines, while Vinicius Jr has gone from strength to strength just a few feet away from him on the left wing. Indeed, ahead of a second-leg clash with Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals, Madrid could certainly take note of the remarkable seasons these two individuals have had and how the young Brazilian has become such a key cog in Ancelotti’s La Liga winning machine.
Goals and assists aplenty – a season like none other
There’s little doubt that Vinicius Jr truly came of age this season, as he’s proved to be one of Madrid’s most reliable creators and scorer of goals. So far in this current campaign, the Brazil international has already managed to bag an impressive 18 goals and 19 assists in 47 games across all competitions.
Not only does that work out at a remarkable 0.86 goals and assists per 90 minutes, but it’s also far and beyond anything the player has achieved in a Madrid shirt to date. Last season Vinicius Jr managed just six goals and seven assists from 49 games and in the season before that he bagged just nine goals and assists from 38 games. Los Blancos are finally seeing the raw potential the 21-year-old talent has always had, transformed into real-life achievements on the pitch.
Full Club Comparison
Playmaker in chief – Benzema’s key man
However, Vinicius Jr hasn’t just improved his own game specifically at Madrid this season. He’s also raised the bar across the board and helped one of the club’s biggest stars enjoy a notable improvement in performances too. We are, of course, referring to the Brazilian’s strike partner, Karim Benzema.
Much has been made of Benzema’s remarkable season to date, with the French striker picking up an incredible 42 goals and 13 assists in just 42 games for Los Blancos. And no small part of that has been down to Vinicius Jr providing assists down the left wing week after week for the Spanish giants. Indeed, of all the players to provide assists for Benzema this season, Vinicius Jr is comfortably the biggest contributor with nine passes that led directly to a goal from the Frenchman. The next best collaborators are Luka Modric and Ferland Mendy with just three assists each for Benzema this season.
La Liga champion
The rise of Vinicius Jr at Real Madrid has been nothing short of incredible pic.twitter.com/qqgXv026Gw
— Transfermarkt.co.uk (@TMuk_news) May 2, 2022
And some of those assists have been season-defining moments for both players and their team. Vinicius Jr’s assisted Benzema for his first goal in the all-important second leg against Paris Saint-Germain, then he popped up again to set up Benzema’s first goal against Chelsea in London, as well as creating the second goal for Benzema in the return leg against the Premier League giant. And he may well prove vital once again when Man City make the trip to Madrid this week.