There are downsides to extreme hype: It adds a rather notable target to one’s back. That will make the target on young Vinícius Júnior even larger when he arrives in Madrid.
On Tuesday, reports from the Spanish capital confirmed that La Real had agreed to sign Vinícius from the Rio de Janeiro-based Brazilian power Flamengo. The move is a massive one not only in financial considerations — the Merengues are reporting to be paying a transfer fee of roughly $47 million — but also because it comes with an enormous leap of faith.
In particular, a large motivation behind Madrid’s deep pocketed bid are reports that archrival F.C. Barcelona had already agreed to meet Flamengo’s €30 million release clause, forcing Real’s hand at the risk of losing the next Brazilian starlet to the Blaugrana, just like Neymar.
Whether Vinícius can be successful in Madrid is a very open question. Other similar global phenoms such as The teen won’t finalize his move to the Bernabeu until his 18th birthday in July 2018, by which point he hopefully will have made his senior debut in Brazil.
For now, the 16-year-old is just one of the world’s most expensive youth players.