Soon after Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday, Vinicius Jr was hailed as the ‘best left-winger in world football’ by Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Having excelled in that role himself for a part of his career, these comments should come as a real blessing for Vinicius.
The Brazilian winger has been one of the best forwards in world football over the last few seasons. He played a huge role in helping Los Blancos win the La Liga and Champions League title last season, even scoring the winner in the Champions League final against Liverpool!
Vinicius possesses a terrorizing playing style and can be a thorn for any defender with his dribbling ability and speed. Over the last few seasons, the Real Madrid winger has left many right-backs for dead in matches and even embarrassed some of the best right-backs in world football.
His latest victim, of course, was Reece James – whom he tormented and embarrassed in the win at the Santiago Bernabeu. Vinicius has also gotten the better of other prominent right-backs like Kyle Walker, Ronald Araujo, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Achraf Hakimi in the big games.
What did Vinicius say to Reece James and Kyle Walker in the past?
The game on Wednesday was not the first time when Vinicius has played against James in his career. As a matter of fact, the two met each other last season as well when Real Madrid picked up a thrilling win over Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals.
James and his side put up an impressive showing in the second leg of that tie at the Bernabeu, almost making a comeback before having their hearts broken by Los Blancos. Madrid lost the second leg 3-2 but ended up winning the quarter-final with a 5-4 margin.
After that second leg, Vinicius sent a classy message to Reece on his Instagram post and wrote: “Great game bro. Good luck.”
The Brazilian winger also has great respect for Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker, whom he faced off against in the Champions League semi-finals last season as well.
In an interview with SportBible last year, Vinicius gave the strongest compliment to the England right-backs, saying:
I’ve played against a lot of them and the most difficult opponents were Chelsea’s [Reece] James and [Kyle] Walker, of Manchester City.
Vinicius’ honest thoughts on rival Ronald Araujo
The Real Madrid star has played against Barcelona defender Araujo many times in his career already, with the two always clashing heads in the El Clasico. Vinicius had the last laugh in their previous outing, scoring and assisting in Madrid’s 4-0 win over Barca in the Copa Del Rey semi-final second leg and making Araujo look weak.
However, he’s also been bullied by Araujo on multiple occasions over the last few years and seems to have the utmost respect for the Uruguayan for frustrating him. Speaking his thoughts on the Barca defender, Vinicius had said earlier this season:
Araujo is the football who has marked me the best. In Spain, I’m sure it’s him and that’s why he plays for Barca.
Vinicius’ glowing history against Alexander-Arnold and Hakimi
Some of the other top right-backs to have been given nightmares by Vinicius are Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold as well as PSG right-back Achraf Hakimi.
The Moroccan defender was actually once his teammate at Real Madrid but was given a hard time in Madrid’s win over PSG in the Champions League Round of 16 meeting last season.
Hakimi even described Vinicius as one of the toughest players he’s ever played, saying “Mbappé, Coman and also Vinicius Jr.”
Vinicius also has a brilliant record Alexander-Arnold, having dribbled past him 13 times in his last five meetings against Liverpool and also scoring 5 goals as well as providing two assists in that time.
All these statistics are proof of why Vinicius can be described as the ultimate right-back slayer and the scary thing is that the 22-year-old will only get better going forward.