In September of 2018, long before Vinicius Jr played his first Madrid Derby at a professional senior level, the Brazilian prodigy appeared for Real Madrid Castilla in a mini derby against Atletico Madrid B. Vinicius recalls that day.
“I thought the rivalry was more between the first teams,” Vinicius said. “But they (Atleti’s B team) fouled me more than 20 times and they tried to bite me! At the time I thought it could not be anything, but then you see the video and he did try to bite me. And I was booked!
“Since I came to Real Madrid I have never lost against Atletico, I hope that my career will continue.”
That was a memorable day for Vinicius, not only for the physical torture he was put through that day, but also because he was very hard for Atleti to stop in the game. The Brazilian scored two great goals, and was the best player on the pitch.
Those games at Castilla were clearly transitory for him, as he was walking through his opponents with ease with every game. He needed to move on to a higher level quickly.
“One trait that enabled him to stand out in every age category: fearlessness. That mettle was apparent as soon as he landed in Madrid. At Castilla, he carried himself like it was a privilege for those kids — those poor, young mortals — to be on the same pitch as him. He transcended everything. When I caught up with Santiago Solari last season, after he managed Castilla to a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid B (in a nasty game, where an Atleti player bit Vinicius’s head, and the Brazilian scored two golazos), the Argentine told me, “Vinicius isn’t really here to learn tactics. He’s too good for this level. He’s just here to stay in shape.”