Vinicius Junior has hailed Real Madrid as "the best team in the world" and says he doesn't fear anything ahead of El Clasico on Wednesday, when his side travel to face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
The 18-year-old scored his first La Liga goal and impressed as Real beat Alaves 3-0 on Sunday, and he sent a statement of intent ahead of what could be his first involvement in El Clasico, per Miguel Angel Lara of Marca.
Vinicius said: "What's coming doesn't scare me. I play for Madrid. I play for the best team in the world. I don't fear anything."
Los Blancos have been paired with Barca in the last four of the Copa and will face the Catalan club three times over the next month. Real haven't beaten the Blaugrana in their past five meetings in the league or Copa del Rey, dating back to April 2016.
Head coach Santiago Solari has promoted Vinicius and handed him starts in Real's last five league games. The Brazilian was rewarded with his first strike in Spain's top tier against Alaves:
The teenager previously scored against Leganes and Melilla in the Copa del Rey, where he has also racked up seven assists in only six appearances, per Transfermarkt.
It will take a lot for Vinicius and Co. to take down Barcelona, who are hoping to become the first club to win five Copa del Rey crowns in succession. Real haven't appeared in the final of this tournament since they won it in 2014.
Ernesto Valverde's men have looked vulnerable of late, though, and they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Valencia on Saturday after falling two goals behind inside 32 minutes.
Vinicius had played only 12 minutes in La Liga prior to Real's 5-1 defeat against Barca in October, the result that sealed Julen Lopetegui's sacking as manager.
Solari has taken more of a shine to the South American, and football writer Richard Martin said he deserves to be a priority this time around:
It hasn't taken Vinicius long to win over Real's fanbase following a string of star performances, and scoring his first goal in La Liga is a fine way for the prospect to warm up for El Clasico.
He now looks certain to take centre stage at the Camp Nou in Wednesday's first leg, and Vinicius' remarks suggest he's raring to fight for Real's honour in what will be his biggest match for the club so far.