The 2021/22 season has been the season of Vinicius Junior’s arrival on the biggest of stages

The 2021/22 season has been the season of Vinicius Junior’s arrival on the biggest of stages

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26 Jun 2022
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Karim Benzema, Real Madrid’s star player, put him in the world’s top five players before the Champions League final, wherein Vinicius won Los Blancos the trophy with his 22nd goal of the season.

Vinicius’ problems in front of goal and in certain aspects of reading the game brought disrespect to him

The 2021/22 season has been the season of Vinicius Junior’s arrival on the biggest of stages. Karim Benzema, Real Madrid’s star player, put him in the world’s top five players before the Champions League final, wherein Vinicius won Los Blancos the trophy with his 22nd goal of the season. He also registered 20 assists, including winning penalties (five), to make the leap that Real Madrid had been waiting for since he arrived at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in 2018. His problems in front of goal and in certain aspects of reading the game brought disrespect on him, to the extent that even Benzema himself doubted his ability to be decisive. In 2021/22, he consigned that to the past as the winger established himself as one of the world’s greatest stars by being vital in Real Madrid’s historic double.

The Brazilian is practically immune to injury

But beyond those 42 goal-worthy actions, the data hide other aspects that should be highlighted. Vinicius was the outfield player with the most appearances in Real Madrid’s 2021/22 season, 52, a figure matched only by Thibaut Courtois. He had the third-most starts (47), had more wins than any other outfield player (37, like the Belgian goalkeeper) and again came third in minutes played (4,272). These figures reflect not only Vinicius’ influence in the team but another factor that has perhaps gone unnoticed: the Brazilian is practically immune to injury. In fact, since playing for Real Madrid, he has suffered only one, the rupture of ligaments in his right ankle in the ill-fated Champions League match against Ajax, which was Real Madrid’s first European elimination in four years.

Apart from that mishap, which kept him sidelined for two months, Vinicius has only suffered from an intestinal problem (one game missed) and the inevitable coronavirus (two games off, last season) since 2018. His only other absence against Granada was due to suspension. Looking back, Vinicius has not suffered a muscle injury since signing for the club, which means that it’s been four years without suffering the problems that torment so many players. His strength is another factor that explains why, at just 21 years of age, he has already played no fewer than 170 games for Real Madrid, which is an average of more than 42 games per season. Even though he only became a regular in the team’s starting line-up in the 2020/21 season.

His future contract renewal is the logical step in the evolution of a player who has come a long and tortuous way in the four years since he arrived at Real Madrid.

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