There was something remarkably Cristiano Ronaldo-esque about Vinicius Jr’s performance against Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday, with the forward scoring two crucial goals in a vitally important match, and Real Madrid are reaping the rewards of the patience they have shown in the Brazilian.
Vinicius is by no means the finished article, but the fact that Los Blancos were able to rely on a player to produce in an important match against a team with perhaps a better squad on paper was a throwback to the early Zinedine Zidane years.
Though, there have been doubts over the Brazilian’s development ever since he arrived in the Spanish capital and was given his first real run in the senior team by Santiago Solari.
The Argentine coach, whilst few will remember his time in charge fondly, was able to briefly give the Brazilian incredible confidence.
It’s worth remembering that before his injury against Ajax in the Champions League defeat of 2019, Vinicius Jr was set to star for Brazil in the Copa America of that summer.
Florentino Perez was left so exasperated in attempts to sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, that the Los Merengues president vowed never to let the club be in such a weak bargaining position again.
A transfer policy of signing South American stars before their value exploded was undertaken, and we therefore saw both Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes arrive at the club for fees which were far higher than their current value deserved.
It was, in a sense, Perez buying potential in the hope of securing the next Neymar early, although the struggles Vinicius Jr has had in the Spanish capital have made people question that approach.
However, Tuesday perhaps opened a new chapter in Vinicius Jr’s Real Madrid career, as he doubled his Champions League tally in one knockout match.
It would have been easy for Real Madrid to loan Vinicius Jr out, especially after Eden Hazard was signed, and there were equally ruthless with other players who shone under Solari’s stewardship, most notably Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Reguilon.
Yet, the Brazilian continued to be given chances, and that patience is now paying dividends as the Spanish champions can realistically start to think about a Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.