Vinicius Jr. Says He Chose Real Madrid Despite Barcelona Offering More Money

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 02: Vinicius Jr. of Real Madrid and Gerard Pique of Barcelona battle for the ball during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 2, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Vinicius Jr. has revealed he opted for Real Madrid ahead of Barcelona, despite the Catalan giants offering him more money. 

The Brazilian spoke on Cadena SER (h/t Goal's Dejan Kalinic) and explained his decision:

"My father never told me of interest until Barcelona and Real Madrid. Then we visited both clubs and liked them both.

"Barcelona wanted to pay more, but we wanted the best project, and Marcelo and Casemiro spoke to me and helped me decide."

Vinicius arrived at the club last summer, with Real having agreed a deal for him with Flamengo in 2017 when he was just 16.

He has enjoyed a superb debut campaign, contributing 12 assists and three goals in 28 first-team appearances.

As football writer Ashwin Raman observed, although his finishing has let him down on occasion, he has otherwise been impressive:

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The 18-year-old's season has been interrupted by an ankle injury that will keep him out until May.

Squawka's Muhammad Butt was among those sad to see him suffer the injury:

Barcelona have traditionally followed a more homegrown project model over the years, with Real preferring to sign "Galactico" superstars like David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Los Blancos have moved away from that in recent years, though. Aside from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois last summer, their most recent marquee acquisitions were James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos in 2014.

Instead, they've focused on bringing in younger talents such as Dani Ceballos, Marco Asensio, Alvaro Odriozola and Theo Hernandez. Vinicius' compatriot Rodrygo, also 18, will join the club this summer.

Barca have gone somewhat in the other direction, moving away from using their academy and splashing out on the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Malcom and more.

When Vinicius returns to fitness at Real, he'll have another manager to impress now that Zinedine Zidane has replaced Santiago Solari.

The teenager was appreciative of the Argentinian for giving him a chance, per Tom Allnutt of the Agence France-Presse:

Speaking about his new manager, he added:

"Casemiro told me that, when Zidane spoke, he would get a bit nervous.

"It is quite different how Zidane speaks compared to Solari. He is a legend. He won everything, and he is special.

"To me, he said to be calm about the injury in order to return stronger."

Depending on how his recovery goes, Vinicius may not play again this season, although there is a chance he could feature against Villarreal, Real Sociedad or Real Betis in May.

Zidane will have his own plans for the summer and next season, but he'll also be aware of the impact Vinicius was having on the side prior to his return to the club.

If the youngster can pick up where he left off, he'll be an excellent asset to the team.

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