It was Vinicius’ first Clásico and he took to it like a fish to water with the most dribbles, plenty of chances created and he did not shirk his defensive responsibility either.
Vinicius’ decision making might have been questionable on Wednesday night against Barcelona but the only rule the Brazilian lives by is that there are no rules. After earning a starting role under Santiago Solari, he presented himself to the world at the Camp Nou with as a lively and threatening presence down the left-hand side of Real Madrid’s attack with four shots and plenty more adventures into Barca’s penalty area.
A mixture of unpredictable moves and speed, Vinicius is a hard man to defend. “It’s surprising that an 18-year-old plays and manages in this manner,” said Solari after the game. He is acting like a veteran at a club he joined in the summer and showed that in the Clásico with the most dribbles (5), second with most chances created (2 and only behind Benzema) and he was the most fouled player on the field along with Marcelo and Kroos(3 with one of them leading to a Semedo yellow). Madrid’s goal came from his left-hand side too like so many other opportunities.
He did not just act in an attacking role, however, and was forced to act as a second left-back with Marcelo struggling. The Brazilian was often seen near his own goal and recovered three possessions, just one less than Ramos and the same as Carvajal.
The effort he made in both phases left him out of gas and Solari changed him after 63 minutes. Gareth Bale took his place and he didn’t do much to reinvigorate Madrid. Vinicius’ importance is also seen in how Real Madrid fret when he’s not playing. They lack the dynamic threat that he offers and that is evident in how many goals he has participated in during this season’s Copa. With two goals and six assists, the numbers speak for themselves. He announced himself on the scene on Wednesday and will look to do even more on the 27th in the return leg at the Bernabéu where los Blanco fans hold massive hopes for his future.