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X-Factor: Vinicius JR Deserves More Minutes

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The 18-year-old Brazilian showcased a skill set that is unique to the Real Madrid squad vs Melilla

Deportivo Alaves v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Santiago Solari looked to deflect praise and pressure from Vinciuis JR after the match and instead focus on the team, “Vinícius played the ninety minutes, he is a great young talent who has just arrived. He’s living in a new country, adapting to another style of football and to a new world at Real Madrid” the Argentine coach commented. Patience will be key with a player of Vinciuis talent, but in a Madrid side boasting the likes of Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos, and Sergio Ramos in the starting XI— Vinciuis JR was a top performer and a difference maker agaisnt Melilla. His pace and power provides Madrid with an option for quick, vertical transitions which have been desperately lacking in the past two months.

It’s the subtle touches and feints, similar to his compatriot Marcelo, that force a defender off balance and leave him with space to attack. Vinciuis is quick and direct, but tonight agaisnt Melilla, Vini showed his maturity in knowing when to “pause”. The Brazilian would drive the team forward and glide past his defender, only to cut back and sling a pass across the pitch to the second wave of Madrid’s attack.

Even if it didn’t always come off, Vinciuis provided that spark and that excitement each time he touched the ball, you never quite knew what to expect. Expectations must always be tempered, Melilla is a second division B side, but it’s becoming more clear—Vinicius is an X-factor, a player who can change a game and make an impact with his introduction. Madrid have been flat and predictable in their play, Vinciuis can be categorized as the opposite: electric and surprising. The youngster is too talented to be shackled by the level of the Segunda B. He simply oozes talent. There is no need to rush the player, but it is fair to say he deserves more minutes in a team that could due with an injection of youthful exuberance and fearlessness.