Step by step, without leaving the plan established by both his environment and himself, Vinicius (21 years old) has earned the name of ‘Galactic’ on his own initiative. The Brazilian has become, along with Benzema, the spearhead of Madrid. The society that both have formed has stimulated them in such a way that it seems very difficult to see a Real Madrid eleven without the presence of one of them, except for injury or sanction. To date, the young Brazilian has scored nine goals and given seven assists in the 16 games that Madrid has played so far: that is, he has participated in an average play-goal for each game.… And the feeling that it will increase as the season progresses.
On that path made since he arrived in Madrid in 2018, Vinicius has been adapting according to the circumstances. He started at Castilla by Lopetegui’s decision: the coach hoped that he would adapt to Spanish football and Solari gave him the necessary boost in both confidence and learning. With whom he matured soccer speaking was with Zidane. The French required him to apply himself in defensive tasks. Their relationship, full of ups and downs, exploded in August 2020, when hours before meeting in the second leg in the Champions League semifinals, he began to fiddle with his mobile instead of paying attention to the French coach’s instructions. The reason? His substitution, something that bothered him internally.
But since then Vinicius, a player with speed, dribbling, but fought with decision-making and, above all, with the goal, something of a top striker, has become a player with impressive conditions, implosive, showy … And what was previously held in his face (the lack of goal and decision-making) has become beneficial for him and, above all, for the team in a slow but progressive 180-degree turn. The data of his improvement are remarkable: his average accuracy in the pass has shot up to almost 87% (86.9%), one point more than last season, six compared to 2019-20 and ten! in relation to 2018-19, that of his debut in the Madrid team.
Other ‘Galacticos’, at age 21
A debut in the white team at just 17 years old, Raúl González Blanco is one of the great banners of Real Madrid at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. At 21, Raúl already had two Leagues (1994-95 and 1996-97), a Champions League (1998), an Olympic Games (Atlanta-1996) and played his first World Cup (France-98), in which he would score his first goal on a World Cup event in the defeat against Nigeria (2-3). He was already beginning to appear in the candidacies to win the Ballon d’Or, something that he would not achieve.
Considered the first ‘galactic’ as the first great signing of Florentino Pérez by paying 60 million for him, he won the Ballon d’Or in 2000 due to his formidable performances with both the white team, Barcelona and, above all, the national team. Portuguese in the European Championship of Belgium and Holland in that year. Growing up in the ranks of Sporting de Portugal, at 21 he had already championed a successful generation of Portuguese footballers, nicknamed Generation of Gold, With which he had been proclaimed U16 European Champion (1989) and Junior World Champion two years later, in 1991.
The Marseillais had left his native home at the age of 14 to go to play at Cannes, where he was living in the home of a manager, Jean-Claude Elineau, and where he met what is now his wife and his great friend in the world of football, David Bettoni. At the age of 20 he signed for Girondins de Bordeaux, where he would become known to the rest of the European continent with great performances that led him to debut with the French team (1994) and to sign in 1996 for Juventus in Turin.
Raised, forged and educated (footballingly speaking) by Jairzinho, Ronaldo Nazario became popular when he was signed by Cruzeiro when he was just 16 years old. His skill, technique, joy in the game and, above all, his scoring nose (he added 59 goals in 57 parties) led him to be summoned by Zagallo to attend the 1994 World Cup in the United States. He did not play for a single minute, but that year it was signed by the Dutch PSV to replace Romario, who had signed for Barcelona a year earlier. In the Netherlands he would consecrate himself, causing Barcelona to pay 2,500 million pesetas for him (about 15 million euros). After a year in which he won the Cup, Super Cup and Recopa, in 1997 he went to Inter Milan, where he would remain until 2002, the year in which he signed for Real Madrid after having won the World Cup in Korea and Japan.
After standing out in the ranks of the modest Andorinha, Cristiano Ronaldo moved to the lower categories of Sporting de Portugal, a club in which he would begin to emerge in a categorical way: he went through three teams (the youth team, the subsidiary and the first team) in just one campaign. After playing a few minutes in a European competition match against Inter Milan in the summer of 2002, a prodigious performance in the reigning match at the José Alvalade Stadium (modernized for Euro 2004) against Manchester United, made Alex Ferguson bet strongly for his signing. It would be in his fourth campaign as red devil (2006-07) that of his explosion: he scored more than 20 goals and won the Premier for the first time.
His youth (barely 21 years old) envisions a spectacular future for him. For that reason, the club He hopes to renew him next summer with figures commensurate with his outbreak: he will renew until 2028, will place him in the second tier of player salaries (he will earn about eight million euros per season) and will have a termination clause of 1,000 million. A ‘galactic’ contract according to what he has achieved with his work and effort … always under the supervision of Ancelotti, a coach who, with an iron hand in a silk glove, knows how to squeeze his players. The Italian has been shaping and modeling the qualities of the young Brazilian, and like a teacher he has been polishing his shots in front of the rival goal. If before his lack of goal was criticized, now he has no problems scoring.
To all this is added his irruption with the Brazilian team. Despite not having continuity in the eleven five-time champion in the world, and following in the wake of what was done in Madrid, little by little he is becoming one of Tite’s important players. Without going any further, last Thursday was key in the victory that gave the Brazilians a pass to the World Cup in Qatar against Colombia (1-0). And that Tite had left him out at first, but Firmino’s injury opened up that possibility. He came out after the break for Fred, and his associations with Neymar became a headache for Colombians. Against Argentina he revolutionized the clash with a lambretta and a shot that narrowly missed. Now he has weeks ahead to continue pulling the Real Madrid bandwagon. His time has come again. One more time…