Is Vinicius Junior getting the game time he deserves?

Real Madrid were desperate for a late goal, for a way back into their Champions League last 16 second leg against Manchester City and back into the competition as a whole, but Vinicius Junior was never called upon. Los Blancos could have used a player of the Brazilian’s mould to open up the opposition defence, but he stayed on the bench.

Indeed, Vinicius wasn’t even told to warm up as Real Madrid suffered an exit from the Champions League at the round of 16 stage on Friday night. Zinedine Zidane seemingly didn’t believe the teenager was what was needed at the time, although that decision doesn’t look so great in retrospect.

Reports surfaced in the Madrid press the following morning concerning Vinicius’ unhappiness at the decision of his manager. It is claimed that this disgruntlement has been growing inside the Brazilian for quite some time, with it even reported that Vinicius could force his way out of the Santiago Bernabeu to find more game time elsewhere.

Paris Saint-Germain has been mentioned as a potential destination for the Brazilian youngster who would surely have a number of suitors were it made clear that he is willing to move on from Real Madrid this summer. But is Vinicius right to feel disgruntled? Does he have a point about the opportunities he is receiving?

It was somewhat baffling that Vinicius wasn’t called upon against Manchester City, but this is a player who still made 37 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid this season. He only started 16 of those, but that is largely down to the sheer level of competition for left-sided attacking positions in Los Blancos’ squad at this moment in time.

Indeed, Zidane is spoiled for choice on the left side. He has Eden Hazard, Rodyrgo, Marco Asensio and Vinicius to choose from, and that’s without even considering Isco who can also play in that position. If Vinicius hasn’t received the game time at Real Madrid his talent warrants, it’s not because of a lack of faith. It’s because Zidane has so many other options and players to keep happy too.

Vinicius might want to try his luck somewhere else, but Zidane and Real Madrid have shown a great deal of faith in the young Brazilian. He is seen as a key part of the future for the Santiago Bernabeu club. The fact he didn’t get on against City doesn’t change this.

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On Friday, Madrid’s two main sports newspapers – Marca and Diario AS – both published the same poll, with both returning overwhelming verdicts. The question was very simple: ‘Should Vinicius Junior start for Real Madrid in their next league game, against Real Valladolid?’ In Marca, 87% of respondents voted ‘Yes’ while in AS, the figure was 90%.

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