Real Madrid: Back Vinicius Junior to solve his greatest weakness

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

When Real Madrid signed Vinicius Junior from Flamengo in 2018, Madridistas knew they were getting their hands on one of the best young players in the entire world. Since then, Vini has shown his potential, first in a brief spell in the 2018-2019 season before being injured and then in the second half of the 2019-2020 season with big-game performances against the likes of Barcelona.

The 2020-2021 season has been a year of ups and downs for Vinicius, who came into the campaign without a full offseason. In 2019-2020, he started slow due to the potential lingering effects of an injury. But this season, Vini started hot with goals against Real Valladolid and Levante, and then he faded.

Since the start of February, Vinicius has turned up his performances again. He has a goal and an assist in his last seven league matchups, and he’s gotten in a lot of dangerous positions. Vinicius was one of the top performers in an impressive 3-1 win over Atalanta, as the Serie A side struggled to cope with his dribbling ability.

But in that match against Atalanta and in a few other recent La Liga matchups, Vinicius has generated more attention among Madridistas for the chances he has missed. Finishing has long been Vini’s biggest issue, and the fanbase is increasingly concerned with his lack of improvement in that regard over the past couple of years.

Vinicius Junior is getting finishing advice from manager Zinedine Zidane

According to a report from Jorge C. Picon of AS, Vinicius Junior recognizes his biggest weakness right now and is taking steps to improve. He is spending extra time working on his finishing after practice, and Picon reports that the 20-year-old is even getting additional instruction from the legendary manager himself, Zinedine Zidane.

It’s wonderful to hear that Vini is working so thoroughly on his finishing, going through different scenarios with the coach and receiving advice on technique from a man known as one of the greatest technicians to ever grace the game.

That doesn’t guarantee Vinicius will improve, but it is yet another reason to root for the young man’s success with Real Madrid. Since Day 1, all we have heard in reports is information about how Vinicius understands the pressure, learns from his teammates, and works as hard as possible to get better. What more can you ask for? The talent is obviously there, as anyone who has seen him dribble or create clear scoring chances can attest. It is just the composure in front of goal that is lacking, given that Vini appears to lose his footing or overthink things when given, as they say, “too much time” in front of goal.

A young winger will often struggle with composure and finishing above anything else, so it is not a unique issue for Vinicius. Many other young forwards struggle in front of goal, though perhaps they do not have as many glaring misses as the Real Madrid man admittedly does.

But given the bumps on the road in his development over the past couple of offseasons as well as the unique pressures of playing for Real Madrid, we must take things slowly with Vini. Above all else, we must recognize that misses are easier to magnify; we must spend just as much time praising the player for creating many of those chances on his own, too.

dark. Next. Real Madrid vs. Liverpool Combined XI

The fact remains that in the midst of his struggles, Vinicius makes no excuses. He knows what he must work on to become a star at Real Madrid and fulfill his truly incredible potential. I can only hope Los Blancos believe in him just as much and continue to back the player. And I also hope that the hours he’s putting in prove fruitful. The work ethic is all you can ask for, and it is reassuring to hear that Vinicius is getting good guidance from his respected manager. I believe at this time next year, we will be praising the left winger for his improved scoring rate.