A born entertainer, by the end of the game on Wednesday night, Vinicius was already a trending topic on Twitter – a star in making in his first Champions League show.
Santiago Solari didn’t give a moment’s respite to the overrun Plzen defence on Wednesday night. The Czech side were already 4-0 down when he introduced Vinicius in the 62nd minute to add more strength to an already potent attack. And although the young Brazilian didn’t score, he did play his part in Kroos’ 67th minute goal that made it 5-0 to the visitors – his first involvement in a Champions League goal.
Vinicius made his European debut on Wednesday night at 18 years and 118 days old, the exact same age that Casillas played his first Champions League game on September 15, 1999 against Olympiakos in Athens (Casillas had number 27 on his back that night – Vinicius, 28 last night).
Both players were 40 days older than another Madrid legend, Raul, who made his Champions League debut on September 13, 1995 against Ajax. The eternal number 7 held the record for the youngest ever Real Madrid player to play in the Champions League until December 4, 2012, when José Rodriguez made his debut at 17 years and 354 days old – also against Ajax.
A star is born
Although in the preseason he had to fit into Lopetegui’s 4-3-3 system, Solari’s 4-2-3-1 seems to fit Vinicius like a glove. His performance in the 5-0 win in Plzen was reflective of what the Argentine wants from him, and of what Vinicius can give of himself. Soon after coming on in the 62nd minute, he instigated a counter attack down the left, controlling the ball with his thigh before making a 40-yard dash. His movement drew in Hubnik, before he played the ball to Kroos, who finished with exceptional style.
Vinicius fulfilled the duties Solari asked of him, but the young startet also also needs to have fun. A born entertainer, he drew gasps from crowd with a purely Brazilian dribble around Reznik, and there was a palpable buzz in the stands every time he got the ball. By the end of the game on Wednesday night, he was already a trending topic on Twitter – a star in making in his first Champions League show.