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Vinicius Junior

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July 12, 2000 (23)

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Vinicius Junior is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a winger for La Liga club Real Madrid and the Brazil national team. Born on July 12, 2000, in São Gonçalo, Brazil, he is celebrated for his speed, strong dribbling ability, and playmaking skills. Vinícius began his professional career at Flamengo, debuting in 2017 at age 16. He joined Real Madrid in a £38 million deal, a national record for an U-18 player, and debuted for the club in the 2018–19 season. By his fourth season, he had become a key player for Real Madrid, contributing to their 2021–22 La Liga title and scoring the winning goal in the 2022 UEFA Champions League final. Vinícius has also been instrumental in Brazil’s youth teams, playing a pivotal role in their victories at the 2015 South American U-15 Championship and 2017 South American U-17 Championship, where he was the leading goalscorer. He made his senior debut for Brazil in 2021, helping the team to a runner-up finish at the 2021 Copa América and participating in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Vinícius Junior’s journey in football began in 2006 when his father introduced him to Flamengo’s branch offices in São Gonçalo. Despite coming from a poor Catholic family, he received financial support from Flamengo and entrepreneurs. He initially attended futsal classes at Flamengo’s school in São Gonçalo and later passed football tests at Flamengo in August 2010. His debut for Flamengo’s senior team came in May 2017, followed by a contract extension and an increase in his buyout clause, part of the process leading to his transfer to Real Madrid. His first professional goal came in August 2017 in a Copa Sudamericana match. Real Madrid signed Vinícius in May 2017, with the transfer becoming effective after his 18th birthday. His transfer fee of €46 million was the second most expensive sale in Brazilian football history at the time. He officially joined Real Madrid in July 2018, making his debut against Atlético Madrid in September. His first goal for Real Madrid came in November 2018. Despite an injury in March 2019, he continued to make significant contributions to the team, including scoring in El Clásico and helping Real Madrid secure the 2019–20 La Liga title.

Throughout his career, Vinícius Júnior has collaborated with several notable footballers, enhancing his skills and contributing to his team’s success. At Flamengo, he played alongside experienced players like Diego Ribas and Éverton Ribeiro, learning from their expertise. His move to Real Madrid saw him team up with football legends such as Karim Benzema, Luka Modrić, and Sergio Ramos, gaining invaluable experience. His partnership with Benzema, in particular, has been pivotal in Real Madrid’s attacking strategy. Internationally, representing Brazil, he has played with Neymar Jr., Philippe Coutinho, and Casemiro, further broadening his exposure to diverse playing styles and tactics.