Real Madrid superstar Vinicius Jr gave a lengthy interview to France Football this week, and in the conversation, touched on a huge variety of subjects, including what it was like growing up in Brazil, how his career has evolved at Real Madrid, his relationship with his teammates, and much more.
Below are some standout quotes from the interview.
Has he changed a lot since arriving to Madrid from Brazil?
“Yes.. I had just arrived from Brazil and from there to here, in Madrid, is a big jump. Every child dreams of this, but it is impressive. I met good people here. I grew up. I’m just another player. I was a kid who didn’t know anything, with only 70 professional games. I have over 200 now. But I am still young and we must not forget that. I’m only 23 years old and I still really want to learn. Now I think I’m a little more famous. I don’t do what I did before when I was in Brazil, but I love my life. I changed my family’s attitude thanks to all this. I think I will be here for many more years. It was my dream, anyway. I can play soccer every day! Nothing makes me happier. I will never get tired of being on the field.”
How often does he play football?
“I have never gone more than three days without playing football, whether on vacation or not. When I was a kid, if there was a place to play, I was there. In the morning I studied with the sole objective of having time in the afternoon, at night, to play. It was my childhood. At 8 years old I wanted to imitate Neymar. And my father let me go out into the street.”
His style of football
“I have always played my way and it will always be that way. I never stopped believing that no matter where I played, I could be the best. Whether it was in my neighborhood, anywhere else or even in front of older players... When I didn’t succeed, I went home a little sad.... I like to be a leader, to feel that I am important, that I can lead the team. It is always so. I wasn’t afraid on my street, next to the gangs. This isn’t going to start now! I never think about what will happen next. There is no stress, only joy. I have the personality to try things and the team gives me confidence to do it too. I’ll try actions until it works. I never dwell on it. The second after a mistake, it’s time to ask for the ball again. And trying hard means achieving a lot. Not everyone thinks like that, that’s for sure, but I do, since I started. I had to take this to Madrid.”
Has his role at Real Madrid changed a lot since arriving?
“Obviously. I was a little boy when I signed, with no particular responsibilities. Now I am the one who has to lift us up, although the number of big players means that responsibilities are distributed. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes the other. But I know that the club, the team and the fans always expect something from me. I will never say that I am not aware of this. I fully accept it. The pressure is there, but we all love it. It is a necessity when striving for greatness. If I have to speak, I speak, there is no problem, but there is Toni (Kroos), there is Luka (Modric)... They have been there for a long time and it is more up to me to listen to them. I have more to learn from them than the other way around. These guys have won a lot during their career... We especially try to follow in their footsteps.”
How is his relationship with Carlo Ancelotti?
“Like father and son. He tells us about everything. Thanks to him I better faced moments for which I was not particularly prepared. He always pushes me and wants me to keep a cool head. Well, when the time comes to tell me off, he doesn’t hold back either... At that moment I tell myself it’s too much! Then I think about it and there is never a coincidence. He always does it because he has to. For some stupid things I do in the field, for example. A dribble in our own field, an individual action that has no place... But we have to listen to him. What he wants is to see the best of what I can give. He is like that with everyone. But with us, young people, it is true that he wants to teach, help. He asks how things are going at home, how we feel, how the family is... he knows we spend time away from home and it worries him. All this makes him a truly beautiful person.”
Will he retire as a Real Madrid player?
“I think I could stay here my entire career, but the club of my life is Flamengo. I promised my father that I would return one day. I have to keep this promise. “
His relationship with Rodrygo and the rest of his teammates
“We spend all our free time together. I think that if ‘Cama’ or ‘Rodry’ give me assists, or the other way around, it is also because things are going very well off the field. We also have Jude, who has just arrived, and Tchouameni, who has been there for a year now. I brought ‘Cama’ to Brazil this summer. He is one of us now. He plays like a Brazilian, he dances like a Brazilian. He wants to come back! With Rodrygo, we have known each other for years, we faced each other when we were 11 years old. The same for ‘Mili’ (Eder Militao) who I have known since I was very young. We’re just a group of guys the same age who want to achieve great things. I spend more time with them than with my family! And besides, we don’t have a girlfriend or children. It’s easier to organize dinner parties.
“It’s like he’s part of the family. We are very happy that he signed. I had been sending him messages for months! I told him: “This is the best team in the world.” He knew other teams wanted him. Juni (Calafat) has become a friend and knows that if I can give a little help, I will. He did the same with ‘Cama’. I was sending him messages, he came and won the Champions League. Let’s hope it’s the same for Jude. I didn’t know him personally but I really wanted him to join us. I saw him play and since I want to play with the best, it was obvious. Jude is one of the best in the world and the whole team loves him. He scores goals, he is happy. He chose the best club.”