Vinicius Junior can be world class – Morientes
The teenager has impressed since breaking into the Real Madrid first team and is currently keeping Gareth Bale out of the starting XI
Former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes believes young winger Vinicius Junior can develop into a “world-class player” after making an impressive start to life in the Spanish capital.
The Brazilian completed a €45 million (£39m/$51m) move to Madrid in July 2018 and, after a slow start, has made a huge impact in recent weeks with Gareth Bale injured and Isco out of favour with coach Santiago Solari.
The 18-year-old scored his second Liga goal of the season in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Alaves and started the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona on Wednesday.
Morientes said: “We were all keen to see Vinicius play, to see how he develops. I think he’s a very impressive player, he’s very good in one-on-ones and making runs.
“He’s still very young, we need time to see the kind of player he will be but if he continues to play the way he is now he’ll be a world-class player, no doubt.
“We should give him time though, you can’t burden such a young player with too much responsibility especially at a club like Real Madrid.”
Morientes says Vinicius reminds him of Savio – the former winger who claimed three Champions League crowns with Madrid around the turn of the century.
“Obviously Savio was a little older but they have similar traits; daring, pace on the ball and one-on-one ability,” added Morientes.
“And they’re both Brazilians, of course. Both came from a very different football style in Brazil, but they adapted quickly.
“So I’d say Vinicius reminds me of Savio, for their playing style and their position out on the left.”
Morientes used to play with Solari at Santiago Bernabeu and has huge admiration for how the Argentine used to conduct himself.
He said: “Solari was a great team-mate. A very nice, friendly guy.
“He liked to joke around. But he was also a very hard worker, a top professional, the kind of guy you always want in your team both when he’s playing and when he’s not.
“He always contributed, and not just on the pitch. A great player and a great team-mate, both on and off the pitch.”
Madrid are back in action on Saturday as they take on city rivals Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metripolitano.