These observations — where I look at Real Madrid’s history, its players on loan, Castilla, tactical tidbits, and other relevant thoughts — are now a regular thing. All previous editions can be found here.
Vinicius Jr turns 22 today, and given that he’s coming off the back of an incredibly special season, I wanted to use today as an excuse to fire off some incredible numbers that back up his greatness.
*Disclaimer, while these numbers are insane, they are just numbers that tell us a lot. True greatness comes with the eye candy he provides us with game-to-game and in big moments. Those gorgeous first-touches, the severity to which he barbecues and deep-fry’s defenders, the dribbles, the cojones, the love for the club, and everything else that appears on your television screens when he plays football.
Ok, let’s get it.
Vinicius conjured 25 goal-creating actions in La Liga this season — the most of anyone in the league. No one created more pure goals than the Brazilian.
Even if his work didn’t produce direct goals, they generated chances, full stop. Vinicius created 5.69 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes in La Liga — again, the most of anyone in the league.
Just how great was Vinicius’s line-breaking? Well, no one completed more dribbles than the Brazilian in La Liga. Last season, he slid past his marker 115 times.
Perhaps the most important / ridiculous / fun stat in this whole article: Vinicius nutmegged his defender 14 times this season in La Liga, which is, again, the most of anyone in La Liga.
Vinicius is in the 99th percentile in his position when it comes to ball-carrying, so it’s no surprise that he dominated this metric too. Vinicius’s progressive carries in La Liga: 426. Guess what? That was, of course, more than anyone in La Liga. He also led the league in progressive carrying distance.
Of course, his carries had purpose and direction, all with the aim of getting the team as close to a goal-scoring position as possible. Vinicius had 116 carries into the final-third in La Liga. Yes, that was the most of anyone in the entire league.
To take it one-step further to illustrate Vinicius’s efficiency (and continuing on the same theme), Vinicius had 101 carries into the penalty box in La Liga, which was, umm, the most of anyone in the league.
Transitioning to some Champions League stuff now. Vinicius slung 30 key passes in Europe, the most of anyone in the competition. (Yes, the trend of being #1 will be in full-effect in the UCL too.)
Just like in La Liga, Vinicius led the Champions League in goal-creating actions with 12.
And, just like La Liga, Vinicius also led the Champions League in shot-creating actions with 54. He was a bonafide creator in Europe and no one was on his level in that department.
This one is staggering, because in a season where Vinicius was so dominant offensively, he also worked ubber-hard defensively. The Brazilian had 286 pressures in the Champions League, which is the most of anyone in the entire competition.
Vinicius’s dribbling domination was prevalent in Europe too, where he successfully dribbled past his marker 46 times — the most of anyone in the Champions League. The only ones who came close were Kingsley Coman, Luis Diaz, and Mohamed Salah — all of whom had 31.
Vinicius had 136 progress carries in the Champions League, which is the most of anyone in the competition. No one came close. Second place? Lionel Messi with 93.
Going through Vinicius's numbers again this season and they're all insane. A bunch stood out (I'll publish them in one second as a birthday tribute), including progressive carries in the UCL. He had 136. No one came close. 2nd place: Messi with 93.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) July 12, 2022
By extension, just like in La Liga, Vinicius led the Champions League with 37 carries into the final third (37) as well as carries into the penalty area (38).
This one worries me, admittedly. Vinicius was the most fouled player (27) in the Champions League. My biggest concern with Neymar, due to his playing style, was always that his body would eventually break down from all of the challenges. Vinicius does seem to take the durability of his body seriously. Hopefully this metric doesn’t accumulate and take its toll over the course of his career.
There were more, trust me, including a bunch of metrics he ranked top-two and top-five. But this was a quick-hitter I felt like getting out into the digital universe. Happy birthday Vinicius.