Real Madrid: Zidane leaves Vinicius out for PSG clash

The Brazilian teenager has fallen out of favour at the Bernabéu and misses out on the squad for a fourth time in six games as Real prepare to host PSG.

Real Madrid: Zidane leaves Vinicius out for PSG clash

Vinicius Junior has been omitted from Real Madrid’s match day squad for a fourth fixture in six under Zinedine Zidane with the Frenchman apparently not placing much faith in the Brazilian teenager as his side enjoy a pre-Christmas renaissance.

Expectations surrounding the 19-year-old were high going into the new season after Vinicius’ debut campaign at the Bernabéu reaped seven goals and 13 assists as the Brazilian racked up a respectable 2,170 minutes in all competitions. This campaign, Vinicius is so far Zidane’s 14th most-used player and has been left out of four of the last six match day squads entirely, totalling just 448 minutes of action so far. Injuries to Marco Asensio, Nacho, Gareth Bale and James Rodríguez have prevented his minutes played stats from dropping even further.

In the two squads that he has made, he managed 25 minutes against Betis and 18 against Eibar. His last meaningful pitch time came in the 1-0 defeat at Mallorca, where he was played out wide in a midfield four and didn’t manage a single shot on target while completing just three of 10 attempts to take the ball around a defender.

Vinicius to Valladolid to learn from Ronaldo?

The issue, as pointed out by Rivaldo, is that despite his energy and undoubted skill on the ball, Vinicius doesn’t seem to know what to do with it when he does get into a decent position. In LaLiga he averages 0.5 key passes per game and 1.6 shots on goal and still has the tendency to lose the ball while he considers his options. In all competitions this season, Vinicius has hit the target just six times and beaten the keeper only once.

That would not necessarily concern Zidane if the assists were flowing but Vinicius has managed only one in 11 appearances, against Levante back in September. That is not the sort of return that will win him his place back in the side, let alone get him on a bench adorned with the likes of Isco, James, Luka Jovic and Bale.

The loss of his place in the Madrid team and his omission from Tite’s Brazil squad in favour of his club teammate Rodrygo will hardly help to build Vinicius’ confidence and it seems it will be a long road back for the teenager this season. A loan move in January may be the best solution for all concerned.

Real Madrid squad for PSG

Keepers: Courtois, Areola, Altube.

Defenders: Carvajal, Militão, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Mendy.

Midfielders: Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Isco.

Forwards: Hazard, Benzema, Bale, Jovic, Rodrygo.