Vinicius Junior is a serious talent as he lights up dire Real Madrid display

Alex Rea 13/12/2018
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Vinicius Jr in action against CSKA

An inexperienced Real Madrid side was beaten for a second time by CSKA Moscow in their final Champions League group stage game on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid, who had already clinched the top spot in Group G, were handed their worst-ever home defeat in Europe on a night in which manager Santiago Solari started the likes of Vinicius Junior, Javi Sanchez, Jesus Vallejo, Alvaro Odriozola, Marcos Llorente and Federico Valverde to face the Russians.

The visitors took a surprising 2-0 lead into half-time after Fedor Chalov and Georgi Schennikov took advantage of some shaky Los Blancos defending. CSKA then put the game out of reach in the 73rd minute through Arnor Sigurdsson who stroked home from the edge of the area

Here, we analyse the performance of their precocious young star Vinicius.

KEY STATISTICS

1212 vinicius

30-SECOND REPORT

The youngest non-Spanish player ever to start a Champions League game for Real Madrid at just 18 years and 152 days old, the Brazilian was a delightful mix of chaos and calm.

The right-footed winger operated on Real’s left with opposite footed Marco Asensio deployed on the right.

Those two formed the fulcrum of Madrid’s attacking exploits, cutting inside onto their stronger side to spank shots at CSKA’s veteran stopper Igor Akinfeev.

Neither got on the scoresheet, however, Vinicius was deeply impressive, outshining not just Asensio but the entire Real team.

Indeed, while around him the weakened XI struggled, the teenager thrived, unloading his dazzling feet and dangerous delivery. He was the standout star in the clash, and that won’t be the last time you’ll hear that said about him.

GOT RIGHT

Decision making – Yes, the twists, turns and trickery hallmark his display, but it was what the young Brazilian managed once he beat his man which caught the eye. Floated or driven low, his crosses into the box invited danger and had Karim Benzema been more alert on a couple of occasions Vinicius would have had an assist to his name. He didn’t just embrace this challenge, but thrived on it as well. His team-mates, however, did not.

GOT WRONG

Left-foot weakness – One area of concern is that against better and more experienced defenders, Vinicius could be look a little predictable. Now, that’s surprising to say considering his rapid feet make him so difficult to time for a tackle, yet his left foot is a massive contrast to what he can do with his right and he always looked to try and shift the ball onto his stronger side with every opportunity.

KEY MOMENTS

6th min CROSS: Immediate example of what he can produce with the ball at his feet. Delicious quick skill to beat right centre-back Kirill Nababkin and then his inviting low drive into the box is desperately cleared away.

17th min CROSS: Oh you’ll see this one all over social media. Sumptuous first touch sees him collect a long ball by twisting in the air and swivelling towards the byline. He storms into the box, cuts onto his favoured foot and lays the ball on a plate for Benzema who can’t find a finish.

23rd min SHOT: Brilliant first touch sees Vinicius drag the ball away from his marker after Isco played him through between the left channel. He burst forward into open space and again sharply cut onto his right foot to strike only for Akinfeev to smartly save low to his left.

55th min CROSS: Superb passage of play, this. He dazzles then destroys Nababkin again, races towards the edge of the box and crosses low for Isco who manufactures some room to shoot, only to disappointingly smack his effort wide.

VERDICT

Take Vinicius’ performance in isolation, away from the absolute calamity elsewhere on the pitch, and there is ample to be excited about. His confidence, coolness and cutting-edge ability was the absolute highlight of what was otherwise a dire display for Real.

RATING: 8/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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Live Real Madrid Blog: Spurs eye move for Asensio

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Hola Madridistas. And welcome to Wednesday’s Real Madrid blog.

The Sport360 team will be here throughout the day, bringing you the latest Los Blancos news, views and gossip.

As ever, get in touch with us throughout the day on Twitter and Facebook.

4:00 pm – Spurs eye move for Asensio

Real Madrid playmaker Marco Asensio is reportedly a target for Tottenham in the January transfer window.

The Daily Mirror says reports in Spain claim Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino wants the 22-year-old, but has had an initial approach rejected as Asensio is said to be keen to stay in his homeland.

Click here to read the story

Marco Asensio has registered just one goal all season.

Marco Asensio has registered just one goal all season.

1:00pm – Eight hours until kick off 

10:00am – Perez praises Modric

The Bernabeu hosted a Christmas meal on Tuesday and Los Blancos president Florentino Perez gave an address where he praised Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric.

The Croat became the first man other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the prestigious prize since Kaka in 2007.

And Perez was full of praise for Modric and placed him among the elites at Real Madrid.

8:00am – Solari refuses to react to Ronaldo’s remarks

Santiago Solari has described Real Madrid as having a “fantastic, humble squad” following remarks from Cristiano Ronaldo about his former employers.

Ronaldo, who switched from Real to Juventus in July, spoke about the clubs in an interview published by Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday, saying the Italian outfit felt “more like a family” than the Spanish one.

Read Solari’s full response to those comments here.

Real Madrid's Argentinian coach Santiago Solari attends a training session at the Ciudad Real Madrid training facilities at Madrid's suburb of Valdebebas on December 11, 2018, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League group G football match Real Madrid CF against PFC CSKA Moscow. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP) (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s Argentinian coach Santiago Solari

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Luka Modric represents the values of Real Madrid, says Florentino Perez

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Luka Modric

The Bernabeu hosted a Christmas meal on Tuesday and Los Blancos president Florentino Perez gave an address where he praised Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric.

The Croat became the first man other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the prestigious prize since Kaka in 2007.

And Perez was full of praise for Modric and placed him among the elites at Real Madrid.

“We are already focused on winning the Club World Cup,” said Perez.

“These players are already part of history and the legend of Madrid.

“Among them is Luka Modric, winner of the Ballon d’Or and The Best, representing the talent and values of Madrid.”

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