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MELILLA - REAL MADRID

Solari's nod to Vinicius

Solari's nod to Vinicius

Emilio Naranjo

EFE

Santiago Solari was repeatedly asked about Vinicius during his first conference as Real Madrid coach, responding, "he has a lot to learn, but also a lot to give, both now and in the future".

Florentino Perez will have had many gripes with Julen Lopetegui following his poor and brief Madrid coaching career, but one of the main ones would have concerned Vinicius.

Last year the Madrid president paid Brazilian club Flamenco 45 million for the youngster while he was still just 17. And with no 'Galactico' signings this summer, Pérez was hoping to see more of the exciting teenager this season, particularly following his impressive pre-season showing in the U.S. after he arrived at the club in July.

But Lopetegui refused to bend to the wishes of Pérez, and during his 14 official games in charge, Vinicius only featured for a total of 12 minutes. In his last game at the helm at the Camp Nou on Sunday, he even left Vinicius out of the squad, despite the club’s effort to successfully overturn a sanction that had made him unavailable for selection, after he was sent off while playing for Castilla (the Madrid ‘b’ team) the weekend prior.

Vinicius situation could change with Solari

Lopetegui, until the end, held the idea that the Brazilian teenager was better off earning his stripes with Castilla and felt he was not yet ready for the first team. But that situation could now change with Santiago Solari on the bench, if his statements during his maiden press conference as first team coach are anything to go by.

Solari (who will intermittently leave his duties as Castilla coach until a new first team manager is appointed) was repeatedly asked about the role Vinicius would now play while he was in charge. “He's another member of the squad, he's going to be available the same as the rest,” he responded.

Santiago Solari at his first press conference as Real Madrid first team coach

Vinicius: a lot to learn but a lot to give

As the convening journalists quizzed him more on the issue, asking whether he believed that Vinicius had reached a level to warrant his inclusion in the first team, the Argentinean reiterated: "He's a part of the squad like anyone else", adding: “He's a very young and incredibly talented lad. He has a lot to learn, but also a lot to give, both now and in the future. There aren't any players in the Real Madrid squad that don't have the level to be in the Real Madrid squad."

Vinicius in action for Castilla against Celta Vigo

Having watched the Brazilian starlet play a number of impressive games for Castilla, Solari could decide to give Vinicius some game time – satisfying the desire of Pérez – and the Copa del Rey tie against Second Division B side Melilla on Wednesday could be an ideal opportunity to do so. But what role the youngster will play when a permanent new coach is named remains a mystery – unless of course that new coach is Solari.

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