Vinicius Junior’s swift development has been a major highlight for Real Madrid this season.
It’s easy to forget that the 18-year-old started the season playing for Real’s Castilla side.
But he couldn’t be left out of the senior squad for long and on September 29, the Brazilian made his debut for the first team.
His involvement quickly grew and Vinicius is now a regular in Santiago Solari’s starting line-up.
He’s been one of the standout performers, too, captivating Real’s supporters with a string of eye-catching, confident displays.
The former Flamengo star’s emergence has served to increase the spotlight on Gareth Bale, with questions being asked about what the Welshman offers to the team compared to his younger teammate.
Bale has struggled to win over the Real Madrid fans since his arrival in 2013 and he hasn’t proven to be a dependable option for Solari, last completing a full 90 minutes in the league on November 24.
Marca's Vinicius v Bale analysis
Madrid-based newspaper Marca have shared their thoughts on the battle between Bale and Vinicius and they claim that there is no debate, writing: ‘The Brazilian is streets ahead.’
Marca cite the pair’s involvement in Real’s 2-1 defeat to Girona on Sunday to claim: “The debate between which of the two brings more to the side is leaning even more in favour of the Brazilian.”
Neither player started the match but Vinicius was introduced in the 58th minute, with Los Blancos leading 1-0, and Bale was brought on eight minutes later, moments after Cristhian Stuani equalised for Girona.
Marca admit that Vinicius wasn’t at his best but that he still offered much more than the Wales international.
“It wasn't one of the youngster's best days after his introduction,” they write.
“Despite his level falling short of what he has shown, the teenager proved that he is Solari's most direct player.”
The analysis then switches to Bale’s display.
“Solari's answer against Girona was to send Bale on for Marco Asensio, playing the Welshman on the right after being received by the Santiago Bernabeu with some murmur, and he went on to play without the desired spark,” the publication continue.
“To make matters worse, Bale's appearance coincided with the phase of the game that saw Girona arrive in the Madrid box more than any other.
“The desperation of the fans with Bale peaked with just over five minutes to play when Mariano Diaz presented him with a perfect chance to equalise, only to miss a big chance.”
The outlook on Bale's future in the Spanish capital appears ominous.News Now - Sport News