From the moment Karim Benzema told Ferland Mendy not to pass to Vinicius Jr in Monchengladbach, it was thought that any hopes of a fruitful forward pairing were over, yet the two players have since gone onto revolutionise Real Madrid’s front-line, combining for 62.8 percent of the club’s goals this season.
Vinicius Jr has taken his game up another level, perhaps even two, and is now ably complementing Benzema’s Ballon d’Or level play.
In the midweek victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, the Brazilian contributed two assists and the Frenchman scored two goals, in what was the latest example of their duo being on the same wavelength.
Every great Real Madrid goalscorer has a great running-mate, Michel had Emilio Butragueno, whilst Cristiano Ronaldo had Benzema himself.
Now it is the French international who is scoring the goals and he has Vinicius Jr, with Carlo Ancelotti enjoying the fruits of the Brazilian’s development.
In the 2021/22 season, Benzema already has 13 goals, including four in the Champions League, whilst the former Flamengo prodigy has nine goals, which adds up to 22 of the 35 the team has scored.
As well as leading the goalscoring charts, the pair lead the club’s assist tables too, with Benzema assisting eight and Vinicius contributing five.
Florentino Perez was criticized when he elected to take the club on a different route in the transfer market, paying 40 million euros for a player who had never even represented Flamengo’s senior team, yet it is now starting to look like a bargain.
Perez wanted to avoid a repeat of the Neymar situation where Los Merengues missed out on him and then were priced out of the market when he signed for PSG, and this has been done with Vinicius Jr’s prime years likely to take place in the Spanish capital.
After a move for Kylian Mbappe fell through on deadline day, there were real concerns about the club’s anaemic attack, yet the emergence of Vitamin VB, as they are being called, has put to bed any such worries, and has even made Eden Hazard’s continuing struggles a mere footnote on the mid-season report.