Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr. returned to his hometown of São Gonçalo, Brazil, to inaugurate a track in his name at his former school. The 22-year-old winger, who is one of the best players in the world, was greeted by hundreds of fans and students who wanted to see their idol and thank him for his generosity.
Vinicius Jr. donated 500,000 reais (about $100,000) to the school to build the track, which will be used for athletics and physical education classes. The track is named “Pista Vinicius Jr.” and has the colors of Flamengo, the club where Vinicius Jr. started his professional career at age 16.
“I’m very happy and honored to be here today, to see this beautiful track that I hope will inspire many kids to practice sports and pursue their dreams,” Vinicius Jr. said in a speech. “This school was very important for me, it helped me develop not only as a player but also as a person. I’m grateful for everything they did for me and I wanted to give something back.”
Vinicius Jr. also visited his old classrooms, met with his former teachers and classmates, and played some football with the current students. He signed autographs, took selfies, and gave away some Real Madrid shirts and balls.
The school’s principal thanked Vinicius Jr. for his gesture and praised him as a role model for the community. In a statement on social media, the school expressed their appreciation:
“Vinicius Junior studied with us during his childhood and adolescence. He was always an exemplary student and demonstrated his dedication both in the classroom and on the pitch. Very soon he demonstrated his passion for soccer and with a lot of effort, determination, and the support of his family, reached the top of international football.
“May Vinicius Junior’s visit serve as an inspiration for all our students and that we can continue to encourage the development of talents in our school, be it in sports, art, science or any other area.”