Real Madrid: Vinicius on his idol, tattoos, girls and hairstyles
Real Madrid's young Brazilian star has revealed some facts about his life off the pitch in an interview with Esporte Espetacular.
Vinicius Junior is still working on his adaptation to life in Europe after Real Madrid paid 45 million euros to secure his services from Flamengo last summer.
The 18-year-old attacking player has been working his way into Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari’s plans in recent weeks and despite his young age he been able to show the always-demanding Bernabéu crowd what he is capable of with the ball at his feet. During the debacle against CSKA in the Champions League, Vinicius was singled out as Real’s best player on the day.
Vinicius is on the start of a path to global recognition and regularly appears in lists of the best young players on the planet. In this week’s Golden Boy voting to anoint the best under-21 player in Europe’s top divisions, the Brazilian came fifth behind Ajax captain Matthijs De Ligt, Liverpool full back Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roma winger Justin Kluivert and Milan forward Patrick Cutrone.
But little is known about Vinicius off the pitch, other than his close relationship with his family and his humble origins in Sao Gonçalo, a place described by a family member as “Extremely poor, with a lot of violence and very dangerous.”
When he was five Vinicius’ immense talent was spotted as he outshone kids of his age. But he had to wait until he was 10 to be admitted to Flamengo’s academy, where he could allow his skills to develop away from the gritty day to day reality of Sao Gonçalo.
Vinicius started out as a left back at Flamengo
Initially inscribed at Flamengo as a left back, Vinicius soon showed that he was better deployed further up the pitch in the manner of his hero Robinho, the player that every Brazilian growing up in the 1990s, Neymar and Philippe Coutinho included, aspired to be.
Now settling into life in Madrid, Vinicius explained how he has come to place a lot of stock in his image, as many of his teammates do. “I cut my hair twice a week, so that I look handsome on the television,” he laughs in the interview. Does he have a girlfriend? “No, no. Not at all. I’m in the prime of my life,” he replies with a grin.
Vinicius also said he is a fan of tattoos, but his father wouldn’t let him get one until he was 18. He has been getting each challenge he achieves inked and the next one, he said, “will be the Champions League” – but only if he scores.