After having been given very little game time under Julen Lopetegui, Real Madrid starlet Vinicius became a regular starter under his successor Santiago Solari, and was one of the stand-out performers during the Argentine coach’s short tenure, which came to end in March following a series of bad results.
One of those poor results was the 4-1 home defeat to Ajax, which saw Madrid eliminated from the Champions League at the last 16 stage. That game also saw Vinicius come off early on with an ankle injury that has kept him out of action ever since.As a result, the young Brazilian, who is expected to make a return by the beginning of May, has not had an opportunity to play under Zinedine Zidane, who returned to the coach’s bench to replace Solari shortly after that ill-fated Ajax defeat.
And while the 18-year-old is undoubtedly anxious to get back to action under Zidane, he can rest easy in the knowledge that the French coach also considers him an important pillar in the new Madrid project, which begins in earnest next season.
Madrid’s confidence in Vinicius is shared by Zidane
Madrid’s leaders envision the young Brazilian quickly reaching the level of players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappé or Eden Hazard within a few years – and just slightly below that of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The confidence of Madrid’s hierarchy in the Rio teenager is also shared by Zidane, who, aside from Eden Hazard, does not want to bring any other Galactico-level signing into his attack, so as to not decelerate the progress of the Vinicius project.
With Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio injured earlier in the season, Vinicius got his chance to break into the first team, impressing Solari to the point that he became an indisputable starter for some of the biggest games of the season under the Argentine coach.
Zidane expected to develop goal-scoring side of Vinicius’ game
The young attacker had put in some impressive performances for Solari before his injury, but perhaps lacked potency in front of goal. In the 28 games he has played this season, he has provided 11 assists but only managed to score once. However, the goal-scoring facet of his game is something that is expected to be developed under Zidane.
His injury suffered in the Ajax defeat was a major setback for the ex-Flamengo player in his first season at Madrid. But the club and the player himself are confident he will be able to return to play for the final stretch of the season, which will ensure that he is in his best shape for Brazil to start the Copa de America in June.