Real Madrid vs. Athletic Club: 3 takeaways from a 3-1 win

Real Madrid (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Vinicius Junior gets back on track

I was one of several fans who wanted to see Rodrygo Goes get the start at left winger over Vinicius Junior, but I was also glad to see Zinedine Zidane stick with Vini. It was an important show of confidence from the Real Madrid legend and manager, as Zidane essentially told Vinicius that he is his guy and that he is going to back him to succeed.

The 20-year-old rewarded the manager. He had a couple of missed chances, but you cannot fault Vinicius for not putting away those highly-difficult opportunities. Instead, you must praise the young man for getting into those attacking positions and for even getting a shot at Unai Simon on one of those occasions.

Vinicius led the team with four key passes. He is at his best when he is creating for other players and can be more of a hub of activity for the team, so it was good to see Real Madrid involve him more in this match than they did in El Derbi when he had fewer touches than Thibaut Courtois.

In the end, Vinicius can walk away from this game with an assist, a passing accuracy of 96.6, and the knowledge that he played a significant attacking role in this victory as compared to the last few wins. This was a good performance from Vinicius, and it should not be lost amidst the criticism he has received lately.