Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr gets kicked around ‘like Diego Maradona & Pele’ as Carlo Ancelotti calls for ‘justice’ from referees
- Brazilian winger boasts quick feet
- Can frustrated opposition
- Needs protection from match officials
WHAT HAPPENED? Creative talents will always leave themselves in the firing line when it comes to rough treatment from opponents, with the obvious threat they pose needing to be contained by any means necessary. Full-blooded challenges can cross the line at times, though, and it takes a strong body and mind – such as that possessed by World Cup winners Maradona and Pele – in order to withstand the relentless blows.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Ancelotti has said of Vinicius being targeted by rivals on and off the pitch, with racist abuse continuing to be aimed in his direction on an alarmingly regular basis: “On the one hand there is what happens on the pitch and on the other, off it. Off it, it is bad for society, to still have racism… a modern society cannot be like that.And on the pitch, the truth is that the players kick him lots, it’s obvious. Maradona or Pele were also kicked a lot, unfortunately. Our luck is that Vinicius has a strong physique and is capable of enduring [those challenges].”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While the odd kick is to be expected when running rings around rivals, Ancelotti has once again called on match officials to protect players that can see a line of acceptable behaviour crossed at times. The Italian added on the need to protect players of Vinicius’ ilk: “We have that concern, it’s quite normal. He tries to beat his man one-on-one a lot, he dribbles… and the only way to preserve this type of player, not just Vinicius, but all players, is justice. Only that can prevent something bad from happening.”
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WHAT NEXT? Vinicius – who netted the winning goal for Real in the 2022 Champions League final – has starred again for the Blancos this season, with the 22-year-old Brazil international registering 19 goals and 16 assists through 46 appearances in all competitions.