The Premier League’s elite must be queuing up to snatch Vinicius

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Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring the team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 09, 2023 in Madrid, Spain – Getty Images / Gonzalo Arroyo

right after Final whistle at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Kyle Walker wandered over to Vinicius Jr. and broke into laughter before the pair embraced. It was complete respect for Manchester City after going toe-to-toe, sprint-for-sprint with the Brazilian and only having to acknowledge a moment of pure beauty.

The Real Madrid forward pointed to the sky, possibly reminding Walker that he tried to beat him with the Rainbow Flick, that audacious piece of skill flying the ball off the floor over an opponent's head. It is usually only seen as a warm-up or possibly in Hollywood movies. Vinicius is an A-List leading actor City and the Champions League stand in the way of the final.

When his goals are shown in years to come, it will be forgotten that he was completely against the run-off play. City enjoyed possession, more than 70 percent of it, but their hard work backfired within seconds and they went behind in the tie. City midfielder Rodri said, “The first chance he had, he scored an unbelievable goal.”

What was the goal? Eduardo Camavinga advanced the ball after a touch from and beat the City press. From the pressure to the impact on Ederson's goal. When the ball was offloaded to Vinicius, the first touch set him up for a strike on goal. Reuben Dias's attempted block meant there was a share of the goal, which Viney found in a full sprint.

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There are no recorded measurements on the most difficult side-foot shot in soccer, but Vinicius' would be up there with the most powerful. “Special player, special goal,” was the verdict of Champions League winner Rio Ferdinand. “He stays inside rather than going wide, because that's where he's most dangerous. Pure magic. Power. Accurate. He's the type of player who can hit as hard as he wants and get pure contact on it.”

Real Madrid striker Vinicius Junior (C) scores the 1-0 goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, Spain - Shutterstock / Rodrigo Jimenez

Real Madrid striker Vinicius Junior (C) scores the 1-0 goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain – Shutterstock / Rodrigo Jimenez

Carlo Ancelotti was Focused more on his team's performance than his star forward, “He is a great striker in a brilliant moment. But the team did well,” said the Real Madrid , in what was perhaps an understatement considering next week's Etihad Stadium.

Ancelotti has one of the most powerful players in the competition leading his attack. For half an hour it was only City, with Real on the ropes until they found Vinicius. This was not a knockout blow, but a warning of what could happen next week.

It's no surprise that Real inserted a €700 million buyout clause in his contract, given how much he is respected at the Bernabeu and how the rest of Europe views him. While there has been no official announcement on a contract extension, there have been some reports of an agreement being reached in Spain.

By the time it is announced, he only has one full season left on his current terms, which begs the question of why Premier League clubs are not trying to apply pressure to bring him to England. In fact, they are used to having a long run-up to the signing and making it clear who they are targeting. But as it stands, even when Chelsea were spending in January and breaking the British record for incoming transfers, there was no talk of Vinicius.

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There has been a lot of traffic between Madrid and the Premier League in recent seasons. Not all of them have even been cast-off. Casemiro and Raphael Varane have shown they have plenty left in the tank for their Manchester United careers, Martin Odegaard has used Arsenal as a platform to showcase his talents, while Álvaro Morata was also a genuine first-teamer . but true Galacticos, Those who are named match winners in the biggest matches stay at the club until they are asked to leave.

Vinicius, after scoring his amazing goal against City, walked towards the touchline and slapped the Real badge in celebration. A show of loyalty to his club in a city that has been home to him for years as he joined from Flamengo for just under £40million. He has become the player Brazilians thought Neymar would be, lighting up Europe's biggest tournament with his pace and ruthlessness in front of goal.

All is not happy in Madrid. Atletico fans put up a statue of Vinicius in January, which was condemned by both La Liga and rivals Madrid. He was called a monkey by fans before the season and legal action was demanded over the racism he faced. So far there has not yet been a murmur of a better home for him in England. If that changes, there will be no dearth of takers.

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