So many talented South American youngsters have moved to Europe too early over the past 15-20 years and have paid a heavy price.
However, secure the services of a South American gem with the right mentality and it can pay dividends.
For every Neymar, Ronaldinho or Ronaldo, there are countless Alexandre Patos - players who promised so much but, sadly, delivered so little on football’s biggest stage.
Subsequently, signing players straight from South America - regardless of their reputation - is undoubtedly a gamble.
And Real Madrid, keen to ensure they wouldn’t miss out on the next Neymar, took a risk by splashing out a cool £38.7 million on teenager Vinicius Junior in the summer of 2017.
Because of his age, Vinicius stayed with Flamengo until the summer of 2018 but has already made 20 appearances for Los Blancos.
Used sparingly by Julen Lopetegui at the start of the campaign, Vinicius has now established himself as one of the club’s most important players under Santiago Solari.
The Brazil Under-20 international produced arguably his best performance for Madrid so far during Sunday’s 3-0 win over Alaves at the Bernabeu, notching his fourth goal of the campaign and helping set up another in the process.
A video of his individual highlights adds further weight to the argument that he really is the next big thing in football… (Skip to 37 seconds, by the way.)
A brilliant individual performance. It’s crazy when you think he’s still just 18 years old.
“The Brazilian put in a man of the match performance,” the Brazilian fan-run blog Managing Madrid wrote of Vinicius’s display. “He was crucial to all of Madrid’s transitional play. His ability to receive the ball, turn, and then be direct and beat players has been vital to Madrid’s turn around in form as it creates space and opportunities for his teammates in attack.
“At 18 years of age, there is [no] limit to the youngster’s potential.”
After the match, Vinicius was quoted by Goal as saying: "It does not scare me, I play in Madrid, in the best team in the world, I do not fear anything.
"I play where the coach believes is better, I will do everything to help, on the right, the left or in the middle, I will continue working to win with Madrid.”
Meanwhile, Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois compared Vinicius to his former Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard after the match.
"At that age, the player I've seen with that much self-confidence and impudence is Eden Hazard," the Belgian shot-stopper was quoted as saying by Marca.
Are we looking at a future Ballon d’Or winner here? Let us know by leaving a comment.News Now - Sport News