One year ago, Vinicius Junior was celebrating his 18th birthday and preparing to embark on the biggest adventure of his life at Real Madrid.
The Brazilian effectively became a Real Madrid player once he turned into an adult due to the issues with signing underage players.
A promising start
After saying goodbye to friends and family in Brazil, Vinicius moved to Madrid to work under Julen Lopetegui but found himself in the Castilla squad to start with.
Under Santiago Solari, Vinicius scored four goals in five games for Real Madrid’s B team before being given his first team debut against Atletico Madrid.
Once Solari replaced Lopetegui in the senior dugout, Vinicius held down a starting place and ended up playing 31 games throughout the season, scoring four goals and providing nine assists.
The youngster was proving to be one of the few positives in an otherwise disappointing season for Los Blancos and started to form a productive partnership with Karim Benzema.
However, an ankle injury against Ajax ended his campaign prematurely and, despite his desperation to prove his fitness before the Copa America, Zinedine Zidane decided not to risk Vinicius to further injury.
Winning over Zidane
Now, on his second birthday as a Real Madrid player, Vinicius is aiming to force his way back into the team under Zidane.
The 19-year-old is currently in Montreal with the Real Madrid squad but has seen his chances of first team football limited by the arrival of Eden Hazard.
After Hazard, he’s got to find a way past Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Rodrygo Goes, Lucas Vazquez and Brahim Diaz.
“I have to rest, but I can’t wait to start all over again,” a determined Vinicius said in May.