Real Madrid have found a new showman. The 18-year-old Vinicius Junior literally bowed to the singing section of the Santiago Bernabeu after his dribble and shot ended in Kiko Olivas deflecting the ball past his own keeper to give the home side the lead.
He also assisted Karim Benzema who won a penalty which Sergio Ramos converted to give Madrid a 2-0 win over Valladolid ending five games without a league victory.
The Brazilian teenager came on with 20 minutes left as Madrid were sliding towards another goal-less draw. Oh for a Ronaldo lamented the frustrated home supporters. Either one would do.
A Cristiano Ronaldo like the man who the club sold in the summer for €100 or a Ronaldo Nazario like the Brazilian legend who was back at the Bernabeu to watch from the directors’ box as the club he now owns so nearly took a point off of Real Madrid. He had never enjoyed a 0-0 quite this much until Vinicius struck to break the deadlock on 83 minutes.
This is the same Vinicius that Ronaldo presented at the Bernabeu when the Flamengo prodigy signed and when the now Valladolid owner was still working as a Real Madrid ambassador.
Valladolid had hit the frame of the goal twice but they were undone by a deflected shot from a player who already has the Bernabeu in the palm of his hand. He then passed to Benzema who provoked a penalty that Ramos converted to confirm the three points.
The good news for Real Madrid is not such good news for Gareth Bale. He was whistled as he was taken off with 20 minutes left. He was already the man supporters wanted left out to make way for Vinicius – that is not going to have changed after this game.
There were whistles throughout the first half.
‘When things don’t go well you have to stay calm. The run we are on and the change in coach made it difficult,’ the captain Ramos said.
We had the whistles to contend with too but after the first goal went in the stadium lifted and we felt the people were back behind us, backing a team that has won so many trophies.’
The first half was a tale of ‘different day same stale performance’ from Madrid.
Benzema rolled a cross-shot wide of Jordi Masip’s far post but Madrid ‘s chances were few and far between and by and large taken half-heartedly.
Bale flashed a header goalward from Sergio Reguilon’s cross and Masip blocked it. Reguilon then got around the back of Valladolid again but Benzema’s header was weak and on closer inspection was not even a header – he handled the ball into Masip’s arms.