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Vinícius Júnior

'He transmits great joy!' - Vinicius Junior ready for limitless career, says ex-Real Madrid coach Solari

19:00 BST 26/07/2022
Vinicius Junior Real Madrid pre-season 2022
The Brazilian winger is coming off the best season in his young career

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior is ready for takeoff on a limitless career, said former Blancos head coach Santiago Solari, who was at the Santiago Bernabeu during the player's first season in Spain in 2018.

Solari identified the qualities that set the 22-year-old apart from his peers and has tipped him to do great things.

Vinicius Junior enjoyed a 17-goal, 10-assist league campaign in 2021-22 as he established himself as one of Europe's premier attacking prospects.

What did Solari say about Vinicius Junior?

"[His potential] only depends on him," Solari told Marca. "He transmits great joy. That self-confidence, that desire to win and to go forward are many of the things that Madrid fans are passionate about.

"And he's also a fighter, he's not just talent. He has learned from all his coaches, for example in the defensive phase, and it shows. He works very hard, taking the ball and tackling, something that requires great strength, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually."

On what influence he may have had on the player's development, Solari added: "If there is a little piece of me in what Vinicius has achieved, in the way he knocks on the door and wins the hearts of the people, it's wonderful, very nice."

Vinicius Junior's road to stardom

It hasn't always been easy for the Flamengo import, who arrived at Real Madrid as a teenager for a reported fee of €46 million (£38m). He struggled to break into the first team under Solari and Zinedine Zidane until 2020-21, when he made what was then a career-best 22 La Liga starts.

Last year, he started 30 La Liga matches and delivered personal bests in goals and assists.

Vinicius Junior also scored the winner in the Champions League final against Liverpool on May 28.

He agreed a new contract earlier this summer amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain.