Matt’s Monday Musings: A series with no rhyme or reason — just consistent thoughts on all things Real Madrid released every Monday. Some weeks may be long form, others just short anecdotal thoughts. Either way, I’ll be posting reflective content on the current, past, and future on-goings of the club:
Everything happens for a reason. Whether you believe that mantra or not, it is hard not to think about the impact to Vinicius Junior’s career had Kylian Mbappe been signed for €250 million in the summer of 2021. There were still questions over the tactical fit should Mbappe have been signed for free in 2022. The “Vi-Be” (Vinicius-Benzema duo), had taken the team to unprecedented heights — a La Liga and Champions league double. A feat that has only been achieved three other times in Real Madrid’s illustrious 120 year history in 1957, 1958, and with arguably the most talented and deep squad in the world in 2017. Just three times! Meaning there was a 2.5% chance, based on history, that Real Madrid would win the double. Take a look at Managing Madrid’s preseason predictions for last season, this was not a squad expceted to take on the world, but they did just that.
The failure to sign Mbappe, meant Vinicius Junior had the opportunity of a lifetime. It is hard to recall any player that has seized an opportunity as decisively and emphatically as Vini. The Brazilian not only became one of the first name’s on the team sheet, but established himself as one of the best players in the world, nominated for the Balon d’Or.
Although his partner in crime will be the winner of the coveted Balon d’Or, Vinicius is the player Madrid will build around. The Brazilian has proven that his start to last season was no fluke after he sustained his performances for the entirety of the campaign. From 6 goals and 7 assists in 2020/2021 to 22 goals and 20 assists last season. The numbers say it all. The 22-year-old has not taken his foot off the pedal. His influence grows with each game. In fact, this season he has set a new record: three goals in three consecutive matches. Against Celtic, he will be looking to make it four in four.
There is a transition occurring before our eyes: Vinicius, Rodrygo, Valverde, Camavinga, Tchoaumeni, and Militao are significant contributors week in and week out. The last 5 goals Madrid have scored included involvement from one of the aforementioned names. The face of the new franchise, the face of the transition, the protagonist of what will be a new-look Real Madrid in the years to come, will be Vinicius Junior. The Brazilian has allowed the Madrid faithful to quickly forget about the pain and rage of the Mbappe saga and now has the world asking: how far can this kid go?