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Real Madrid: Vinicius set for growing role at crisis-hit giants

Real Madrid: Vinicius set for growing role at crisis-hit giants

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce

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After starring for Brazil Under-20s, Vinicius returns to the Spanish capital with as strong a first-team claim as ever at Real Madrid.

Vinicius returns to Madrid with the wind firmly in his sails after an international break that has seen the starlet further stake his claim for a regular first-team role at the Bernabéu. Alongside another Real Madrid youngster, Rodrygo Goes - who is to remain at Santos until he turns 18 - the forward starred in Brazil Under-20s' 1-1 friendly draw with Chile on Saturday. Featuring for the full 90 minutes, he led the Canarinha charge, conjuring up moments of skill and repeatedly running at the Chileans - most notably when he carried the ball more than 40 metres to lay on a goal for Rodrygo. A missed penalty was the only black mark against his performance. In the Brazilians' second meeting with Chile two days later, meanwhile, he was rested until the 63rd minute of a 2-2 stalemate, but offered several glimpses of his class after his introduction.

Vinicius a ray of hope at crisis-hit Real Madrid

With Real Madrid mired in crisis, with Los Blancos' defenders leaking goals for both club and country, with mystery continuing to surround Gareth Bale's "muscle fatigue", with Marco Asensio scratching around for consistency and with Karim Benzema failing to perform, Vinicius returns from international week as one of the chief positives for coach Julen Lopetegui to grab hold of as Real Madrid bid to end an almost seven-hour goal drought - and a poor run of results that has brought three defeats and a draw in the side's last four games.

Vinicius in action for Brazil Under-20s on Saturday.

After forking out 45m euros for Vinicius, the club's hierarchy are keen to see him play, and he's an option gaining prominence in Lopetegui's thinking, too. Having initially felt the 18-year-old was too green ("he's still young, he needs time") and sent him down to the club's 'B' team, Castilla, to get used to the European game, it was the Brazilian he turned to - ahead of Mariano Díaz - with time running out in last month's goalless draw with Atlético. It was a debut that lasted just a couple of minutes, but he showed power, pace and courage and, after sitting out the loss to CSKA, he was given more game time late on in the defeat at Alavés (getting the nod over the likes of Lucas Vázquez). He's only had 12 minutes of action so far, but the plan is for his role to grow in the coming weeks. There'll be no more Castilla for him, it would appear...

Vinicius in line for growing Real Madrid opportunities

A player who is electric, quick and goes straight for the jugular (something Real distinctly lack right now), Vinicius is generating no little excitement, and is knocking hard on the door with his displays. And, in the month ahead, he is set to get his chance in some LaLiga games and, in particular, the Copa del Rey - with the ex-Flamengo man expected to start in the cup, in which Real begin their campaign at the end of October. "It will all come in time. For now, I have to keep a cool head," he said after his dazzling performance at the weekend. The moment when he breaks the door down once and for all is drawing closer and closer.

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