Vinicius Junior is showing why Real Madrid decided to invest 45 million euros in him - Flamengo were trailing 1-3 in their recent Copa Sudamericana quarter final against Fluminense until the 17-year-old was brought on to save the day. He played a decisive part in both goals which enabled Fla to level the score and book their place in the semi-finals. After the game, Vinicius chatted to Globoesporte about Real Madrid, who he is set to join in 2019…
Vinicius Jr not thinking about the future just yet
You'll be leaving Flamengo at a very young age: “Yes, but I'm quite relaxed about it, I'm not really thinking too much about the moment when I'll leave just yet. It will another year until I know when I will be leaving. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my time here with Flamengo, enjoying where we are in the table and all of the new things I'm learning”.
Your coach Reinaldo Rueda has been ghelping you to improve your game. How do you get on with him? And can you speak Spanish yet? "I'm been working with him a lot on one-on-one moves in training. Those situations cropped up quite a lot in the Fluminense game. And yes, I've started taking Spanish classes, with my family. We're doing our best to improve with the language”.
Learning the lingo
What Spanish words do you know? “Hola (Hello), ¿Qué tal? (How are you?), Encantado (Pleased to meet you). As for football terms, just Arquero (goalkeeper), because my brother is one”.
In 10 or 20 years' time, people will remember this 3-3 draw against Fluminense as the Vinicius Game… “This game will go down in history. The game was given up as lost. I came on with 20 minutes to go and with seven minute remaining we had levelled”.
You're a big fan of Adriano El Emperador... “I'm still a big fan of his now. He played brilliantly for Flamengo. If I can do 50% of what he did for Flamengo, I'll be happy. Do I know him? No. I'm going to try and meet him at some point during the holidays”.
You've received your fare share of criticism: “It never bothers me. I know my own potential, I know how far I can go. I'm going to work hard for Flamengo as I promised to do. Whoever we play, I'll work hard so that my mind will be at rest”.
Regular contact with Marcelo, Casemiro and Danilo
Guardiola phoned Gabriel Jesús before City signed him. Have you spoke to Zidane yet? “No I haven't spoken to Zidane. I talk to Marcelo, Casemiro and Danilo. Whenever I have a good game, Marcelo sends me a text message. I'm in contact with them quite a lot”.
Has Cristiano sent you a message? “Not yet, I'm still waiting! (laughs)”.
What are your aims with Flamengo? “For the team to qualify for the Copa Libertadores, win the Copa Sudamericana to crown the year in the best possible way and next season to win every competition we are in”.