Vinicius Jr has been the center of attention (mostly for unfortunate reasons that are not his fault). In addition to being the target of unjustified racist abuse as well as physical onslaughts on the field, his performance has also dipped since last season’s brilliant breakout campaign.
But even despite being ‘poor’, the Brazilian winger has contributed in key moments, and that’s perhaps why he gets the benefit of the doubt with Carlo Ancelotti who keeps his playing time high. Even if he’s struggling, he’s capable of something magical.
Something that may have gotten lost as other star performers like Eduardo Camavinga, Dani Ceballos, Rodrgo Goes, and Eder Militao stole the show, Vinicius put up some impressive numbers against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
Vinicius, who had 99 touches — mostly on that left hand side as he battled Molina and Savic — had a game-high five key passes in Real Madrid’s win in addition to his game-winning goal. On the defensive end, he had three tackles and two interceptions.
But he can still improve. Speaking from a pure defensive perspective, despite winning some good challenges, he was responsible for losing his man — Molina — on Atletico’s goal in the first half, and his four completed dribbles were met with five failed ones. Savic, despite his red card, defended him quite well much like many defenders have this season. Vinicius also had one clear dive that he should’ve been booked for.
Does Vinicius need some rest to get back to his best? It should be noted that the abuse he’s received has most likely taken a toll on his mental health and decision making, and the planned tribute at the Bernabeu unfortunately never even really happened.
The 20th minute of the derby was supposed to have a big ovation for Vinícius. But, few joined in. You could almost hear a pin drop. Probably cause Atleti scored one min before and basically sucked all the air out the stadium.— Euan McTear (@emctear) January 26, 2023