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PORTUGAL

Real Madrid: Vinicius is scoring goals... but for Benfica

The Brazilian forward, 24, is setting Primeira alight with the Eagles and attracting attention from across Europe while his compatriot warms the Madrid bench.

Real Madrid: Vinicius is scoring goals... but for Benfica

Half of Europe is watching Vinicius with interest, but not the one Real Madrid would like to be making the right sort of headlines. Instead, the Benfica forward who shares nationality and nomenclature with Zinedine Zidane’s young charge has been banging them in for Benfica as The Eagles seek to retain their Portuguese league title with Porto breathing down their necks.

Carlos Vinícius, 24, arrived at the Estádio da Luz last summer for €17 million from Napoli, who loaned him straight out to Rio Ave after signing him from second-tier side Real SC in 2018. The forward then spent the second half of the 2018-19 season on loan at Monaco before Benfica decided to give him a permanent home and a five-year deal with a €100m release clause.

Vinicíus Sr leading the way 

That now looks like a canny bit of business with the towering forward scoring 12 goals in 16 appearances for Benfica this season after struggling for game time at Napoli and Monaco. Naturally, Vinícius’ prolific scoring has attracted the interest of clubs across Europe, who will be watching how the rest of his season unfolds in Portugal. Meanwhile, Madrid have little in reserve behind Karim Benzema and have been heavily reliant on the Frenchman this season with Luka Jovic failing to convince and Vinicius often failing to make the squad. 

The 24-year-old striker’s case is similar to that of his young compatriot at Real Madrid: it took two seasons of top-flight football for him to find his feet and to start finding the net regularly. Zidane and the Bernabéu board will be hoping that his namesake follows a similar path. He will have the opportunity in the coming weeks to stake his claim, with injuries to Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, James Rodríguez, Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio opening the door for some of Zidane’s fringe players to gain some playing time.