PETE JENSON: Welcome to the Vinicius-Mbappe era: After SAVING Real Madrid at Anfield ‘the world’s most decisive player’ is ready to fight for the Ballon d’Or in a new era… just like Messi and Ronaldo
Real Madrid thumped Liverpool 5-2 in their Champions League last-16 first leg
Vinicius Jr scored twice and had an assist as Real came from 2-0 down to win
Carlo Ancelotti’s famous raised eyebrow was not the only one when he announced that Vinicius is now the most decisive player in the world after Tuesday night’s 5-2 win for Real Madrid at Anfield.
Surely the genial Italian coach was not putting the 22-year-old in the same bracket as Kylian Mbappe?
But it is now time to recognise the Brazilian as exactly that – the most decisive player in club football at least. He won the Champions League final for Real Madrid last May and then the World Club Cup in Morocco last week. His goals are winning trophies and they saved Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
A lot was said on Wednesday morning in Spain about how ‘Madrid’ turned things around. But it wasn’t ‘Madrid’ it was Vinicius.
There had been no real improvement in the first 20 minutes. Liverpool were still marauding forward and Real Madrid hadn’t entered the game. Vinicius’ goal from nothing changes everything. It wakes the European Champions up, reminds them they are in a game and that it’s one of those helter-skelter matches that they love.
Vinicius Jr delivered a stunning performance in Real Madrid’s thrashing of Liverpool at Anfield
The Brazilian scored twice from just three shots as Real Madrid came from behind to win 5-2
Real boss Ancelotti has labelled the Brazilian ‘the most decisive player in world football’
Vinicius Jr’s form has seen stand alongside Kylian Mbappe as the best players in their position
In the last four games between Liverpool and Real Madrid Vinicius has scored five goals. With those Champions League and World Club Cup goals it’s fair to say that in the last 10 months he has been more decisive than Mbappe.
At international level it’s still a very different story. The Frenchman dominated the World Cup with Lionel Messi while Vinicius barely registered. Part of the blame for that should perhaps go to Tite who wanted to build the team around other players. Vinicius must be hoping Carlo Ancelotti takes over the Brazil national team sooner rather than later.
The Italian has had a big part to play in the player developing from a three goals a season winger to a 20-plus goals a season forward. Just leaving him on the pitch to destroy exhausted teams late on in games rather than making him the first change as Zinedine Zidane always did has helped take him to another level.
But perhaps the biggest factor has been Real Madrid missing out on signing Mbappe last summer.
For all that Vinicius’ campaign was spectacular last season – and it wasn’t just the goal in the final, the second leg comeback against Manchester City wouldn’t have been enough if not for that extraordinary goal at the Etihad, running from the halfway line and clear of the home team’s back-pedalling defence – Madrid still thought they were getting Mbappe.
It would not have meant Vinicius out of the team but it would have seen him shifted to the right to accommodate Mbappe down the left. He would have been vying for a place in the team with compatriot Rodrgyo and when things got heated this season with abuse directed at him by rival specatators and opposing players he may well have been taken out of the storm and left in dry dock for a few matches.
Ancelotti would have had the option of not playing him in almost every minute of every game and confidence would inevitably suffered as a consequence.
Ancelotti was asked at the end of last season if Vinicius would have to give up his natural starting position to allow Mbappe to play where he prefers. The Real Madrid coach prudently would not be drawn.
Vinicius was unable to replicate his form for Brazil at the World Cup as they lost to Croatia
However, at Real he has developed into a potent forward – scoring and assisting regularly there
His internal response to the non-arrival of the Paris Saint-Germain forward was to hone Vinicius’ forward play to make him more like the Frenchman. He wanted Vinicius to use his pace more, not just in terms of beating players one-vs-one, but running in behind defences on to through balls.
He has improved beyond recognition this season, and Ancelotti’s pride in that will have helped provoke his ‘best in the world’ comment. But the evidence is there for all to see.
There are still flaws that need correcting. Mbappe, like Messi, rarely gets involved with referees. He also lets his football punish opponents rather than rise to their bait.
Vinicius – perhaps more in line with Cristiano Ronaldo, appears more temperamental. He can allow rivals to distract him, and he does hear too much of the noise around him on the pitch. Even last night he risked a second yellow in the second half.
There’s a zoned-out zen concentration at the heart of Mbappe’s ruthless attacking play that he is still developing – but he is two years younger than the PSG man, it will come.
And when Mbappe will have rival on the club and country stage that will leave them both meeting on the Ballon d’Or podium as often as Ronaldo and Messi used to for the next decade.
Vinicius Jr vs Mbappe could mirror Lionel Messi (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo’s battle for years
Source of data and images: dailymail
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PETE JENSON: Welcome to the Vinicius-Mbappe era: After SAVING Real Madrid at Anfield ‘the world’s most decisive player’ is ready to fight for the Ballon d’Or in a new era… just like Messi and Ronaldo Real Madrid thumped Liverpool 5-2 in their Champions League last-16 first leg Vinicius Jr scored twice and had an assist …
The post Vinicius Jr SAVED Real Madrid vs Liverpool – he’s now truly world class and will rival Kylian Mbappe first appeared on Elrisala. Sports – Elrisala