Like fellow new Monaco signing Gelson Martins, Brazilian forward Carlos Vinicius is playing an important role in the principality club's resurgence, and his skillful winner away to high-flying Lille in week 29 suggested that this could be the start of something special.
Vinicius arrived on the last day of the winter transfer window. Getting in at the far post by Jean-Eudes Aholou's somewhat wayward strike, the tall striker produced a great piece of skill to eliminate Jose Fonte and provide a clinical finish past Mike Maignan from point-blank range.
It was the Brazilian's first start after six appearances as a substitute, and he duly repaid Jardim's faith by bagging his first Ligue 1 goal.
The 24-year-old Vinicius was born in Maranahão, Brazil, where he began his youth career with Santos FC, home of the legendary Pelé, before moving to Palmeiras and then turning pro with Caldense. The promising young forward struggled to find a permanent home and opted for a loan to Real SC in the Portuguese second division, where he impressed with 19 goals in 37 league appearances.
His excellent season saw him catch the eye for Napoli, which signed him in the summer of 2018 before loaning him directly to Rio Ave. After scoring eight goals in 14 appearances for the Portuguese top-flight side, he was taken on loan by Monaco on the final day of the winter transfer window.
While the 23-year-old's lanky frame might suggest he is a target man, Vinicius' speed and skill make him a versatile player.
"I prefer running into space. Normally, tall players aren't that quick," he explained. "But football demands pace and I've always worked very hard on it."
After arriving on January 31, Vinicius needed some time to adapt and has predominantly been used as a substitute by Jardim. He marked his first start in the league with his first goal. He now has a total of 152 minutes in the league and is yet to taste defeat in France's top flight.
"It's true that this is a great adventure for me. I'm always working; I work very hard. We need to keep playing like this, all pulling in the same direction, to help the team reach some important objectives in the final stages of the season," the Brazilian said.
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