Real Madrid: Vinicius is back

“I’m ready,” Vinicius Junior proclaimed on his social media alongside a photograph of his training in Valdebebas after the tough blow against Atletico Madrid in the first derby of the season. The debacle has put the spotlight on the Brazilian as the savior. The number 7 was set to make his comeback at the Metropolitano after recovering from a hamstring tear in his right leg that he suffered in the early stages of the match against Celta Vigo, but an untimely gastroenteritis ruled him out of the squad at the last minute.

During his absence, Real Madrid continued to smile, thanks to Jude’s impressive start, but they have lost their attacking flair and consistency that Vinicius has always brought to the team. The defensive fragility condemned Ancelotti’s men against Atletico, but equally concerning was their inability to trouble Oblak beyond long-range shots and a moment of brilliance from Kroos that made Madrid believe in a miracle. It was a mirage, and Ancelotti’s plan fell apart after failing to dismantle Simeone’s defensive setup.

With that being said, Vinicius returns at the most opportune moment to try and get back on the path to victory. The Brazilian, who has missed a total of four games (three in the league and one in the Champions League), will need to regain the sense of danger he has always created with his bursts of speed in order for the white team to once again intimidate their opponents.

With Vini’s return, Real Madrid begins a week with two demanding league matches. Tomorrow, Las Palmas visits the Bernabeu, and on Saturday, Madrid travels to Girona to try and overcome Míchel’s team at Montilivi, the surprise team of the season. These are two vital fixtures after losing the lead in the derby. “If we think there is a 1% risk, we won’t take it,” Ancelotti said in the pre-match press conference before Vinicius’ absence. The idea doesn’t seem likely to change, and Vinicius will get minutes in his latest return to the pitch.

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