Florentino Perez deserves credit for believing in Vinicius Junior

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

There are a lot of reasons for Real Madrid fans to have qualms with Florentino Perez. He failed to replace one of the best center back duos of all-time, his European Super League idea was idiotic, and the leaked tapes of his comments on club legends do not flatter him at all. But we also have to give him credit where credit is due. His faith in Vinicius Junior since signing the man from Flamengo has paid dividends.

Vinicius burst onto the season in the middle of the 2018-2019 season, dazzling for Real Madrid before suffering an injury. It took him some time to get going in 2019-2020, but he ultimately was decisive in Real Madrid’s league title triumph. He created a goal off the bench against rivals Atletico Madrid in a win, and he scored the first goal in a 2-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu over top title challengers Barcelona.

Despite these highs in the second half of the 2019-2020 season and a good goal-scoring start in 2020-2021, Vinicius Junior drew the ire of Madridistas last season for his inconsistent play and copious missed opportunities. His shooting was bafflingly poor at times, with even teammates not hiding their shocked reactions. For example, Vini had an incredible solo run against Atalanta in the Champions League, only to scuff the chance so badly that captain Sergio Ramos could not help but effusively react.

Real Madrid fans were concerned about the attack coming into this season. With Kylian Mbappe looking unlikely, they were resigned to yet another season with Karim Benzema carrying the entire scoring load by himself. Gareth Bale could not be counted on. Rodrygo Goes has been more creator than scorer. Eden Hazard’s injuries made him a risky choice.

Florentino Perez did not even consider trading Vinicius Junior for Kylian Mbappe

But Florentino Perez never wavered in his support. No matter how many times Vinicius was linked to PSG as THE player who could make a dream Mbappe move happen, the Real Madrid president never caved. He consistently sent messages to the media in Spain that Vinicius is unsellable and would not be sold under any conditions – not even to acquire Mbappe.

With four goals in four LaLiga matches and a quality performance in the Champions League against Inter Milan, Vini has more than vindicated Perez through the first five fixtures of the 2021-2022 season. Most of the credit has to go to the player himself, with some also going to new manager Carlo Ancelotti for helping Vini find that confidence in himself to not overthink in front of goal.

But a sliver of the credit should go to Perez. The orders, after all, come from the top. Perez set the tone this year that Vini would be important, and he has always backed his investment. It means a lot when a player gets this kind of backing from the president, and Vini is always one to point to the badge whenever he scores. He loves this club. So to see Perez keep the faith and Vini reward him is a beautiful sight.

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What’s even more beautiful for Madrididstas, though, is the idea that Vinicius can only get even better from here on out. It’s easy to forget, but we are talking about a 21-year-old here. A 21-year-old who is already finding his true self on the pitch.