‘It got out of hand’: Brazil star Vinicius Junior bemoans the ‘dirty’ play he and Rodrygo suffered in LaLiga recently, as the Real Madrid forward suggests opponents were trying to make him miss the World Cup
Real Madrid and Brazil forward Vinicius Junior has accused his opponents in Spain of ‘dirty’ tackling in recent weeks, as the 22-year-old began to fear he would pick up an injury and miss the World Cup.
Vinicius has made 16 appearances for Brazil since his 2019 debut but has little international tournament experience, with just four Copa America appearances.
His stock has risen considerably in recent years after 22 club goals last season, including the only strike of the Champions League final.
Vinicus Junior has accused his La Liga opponents of ‘dirty’ play towards him in recent weeks
The Brazil forward has become a key player for Real and scored 22 goals last season
Despite his recent success, the Madrid star feels he has been targeted by opposing teams. In quotes carried by Marca, he said: ‘When you start to be an important player, the rivals come after you stronger and you have to learn to handle it.
‘What happens on the field stays there, but it got out of hand. You can come in strong, but they were dirty. Rodrygo and I have suffered a lot in recent games and we feared the worst, getting injured and miss the World Cup.’
Vinicius went on to speak of how he has learned from his senior colleagues with both Real and Brazil. He said: ‘I listen a lot. I like to learn from players with more experience, like Karim [Benzema] and Neymar.
The 22-year-old feared missing the World Cup through injury from a dirty tackle
‘Taking pressure has always been easy for me, being a star, as you say. I’ve always been sensible.’
On Benzema, he added: ‘He was the one who told me to be calm and have peace of mind because if the rivals come after you it is because you are important, because they are afraid of you. That is why when I take the ball and go forward I do it hard. Yes, I can get injured, but I’m prepared.’
The Frenchman was the top scorer at Real last season, and won the Ballon d’Or after an excellent year.
Vinicius also felt his Brazil and Real teammate Rodrygo was being targeted
Vinicius also spoke of how influential his international teammate Neymar has been on Brazil’s younger players, saying: ‘He went through a lot as a youngster, playing so small and under so much pressure, so he is one of those who today worries that everything is easier for the new generation.
It’s a dream to be with him because we grew up idolising him. What he does as a leader is very important, and he knows that by helping us we can help him too and have a great World Cup’.
Brazil get their World Cup underway against Serbia on Thursday.
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