Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr is one of the best players in the world right now, manager Carlo Ancelotti said, adding that it was not a concern that its performances are so dependent on the Brazilian’s form this season.
The 22-year-old was key in helping Real win the LaLiga-Champions League double last season and will be expected to lead his side to a morale-boosting win over arch-rivals Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday.
“Real Madrid have a dependency on Vinicius Jr and that is a good dependency to have because he is one of the best players in the world right now,” Ancelotti told a news conference on Wednesday.
“I see depending on Vinicius as a normal thing for us, he is one of the biggest in the world today.
“I don’t need to give him any extra advices. We won’t change who we are. He will be facing a tough challenge against (Barcelona defender) Ronald Araujo and I think it’s going to be a fun one. I hope he wins.”
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez agreed with Ancelotti on Vinicius and said that his side would be underdogs in Thursday’s clash in Madrid.
“Vinicius is making a difference. He is an exceptional player and has added goals to his arsenal. He is a player that you have to follow closely, he is at a very high level,” Xavi said.
“It would be great for us winning on Thursday at Santiago Bernabeu. But we are facing a great rival... they are the favourites.”
Trailing seven points from leader Barcelona in the LaLiga standings, Ancelotti did not think that Thursday’s result would have any influence in the title race.
However, after their 5-2 win at Liverpool in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash, the Italian said his team had good momentum to fight for all trophies.
“Now is when the good stuff comes,” Ancelotti said.
“When you reach March in contention, it’s because you have a chance to win it all and we will compete.
“We are in a similar spot to last year, with only two points less than we had at this same exact date one year ago. We are not much better than last year, we are where we deserve to be.”
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