Spanish giants Real Madrid have made headlines this week for forking out a staggering €46 million for 16-year-old promising player Vinícius Júnior. The Brazilian has just one senior appearance for Flamengo, making his professional debut a mere 11 days ago.
“The player will remain at his current club until July 2019,” the La Liga champions said in a statement. “Although he will be able to play for Real Madrid before then if both clubs agree to it.”
Meu sonho, dos familiares e amigos EU CONSEGUI REALIZAR!! Desde de 10 anos no meu clube de coração, hoje fiz a minha estreia, com 16 anos. pic.twitter.com/47hENiOrKs
— Vinicius Junior (@vini11Oficial) May 13, 2017
It raises eyebrows, I must say. It seems clubs like Real Madrid are keen to find the next teenage superstar or a phenomenon like Leo Messi, and they are willing to part with massive sums of money on promising players.
That said, it could go either way. He could go on to be a giant of the game, or he could go on to be a flop. But there will be considerable pressure on Vinicius. Vasts amount of money on a 16-year-old kid won’t go unnoticed by the fans, media and even team-mates. And when the time comes, and he pulls on the Madrid jersey, he will be expected to deliver the goods.
Other Brazilian players arrived in Europe amid huge hype and ultimately failed to live up to expectation. Alexandre Pato and Robinho are just two players in recent years who, after moving to Europe, were under pressure to deliver constant performances that a Balon d’Or winning player would. Ultimately neither came close.
But football is a funny game. Anything can happen and this kid could be a superstar.
Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland)