Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior is an increasingly controversial figure in Spanish football.
The Brazilian has shone over the the last 18 months and catapulted himself into the elite echelon of footballers. However that brings with it more targeting from opposition players and it is not something he has always handled well.
Against Real Mallorca in both of the last two seasons, Vinicius has gone to battle with Pablo Maffeo and even ended up shouting at Mallorca coach Javier Aguirre.
Increasingly he has become the object of ire for opposition fans too. Against Rayo Vallecano on Monday night he had a frustrating game as he was unable to keep his side from defeat.
It was Ivan Balliu who was marking him during the game and kept him quiet for the most part.
“Yes, it is true that I hit him, I brush his ear a little and he also exaggerates. I try to stop myself and I do stop myself a little with his ear or his head, but without the intention of hitting him or with violence, I received messages telling me all sorts, but nothing like asking for red or anything like that”.
هما ما شافوا هاي اللقتات pic.twitter.com/NtV3Ke0ZO8
— Adel Alamoudi (@AdelAlamoudi7) November 7, 2022
The Rayo defender also explained that it is part of the game going up against the best in the world.
“It’s hard to stop players like that, you had to look for those little tricks or that other type of football. I tried to go in strong, mark my territory and he also had in his head that a few hours ago the [World Cup] squad for Brazil had come out… and everything went well.”
Even if Vinicius perceives his treatment to be unjust, it is unlikely that players will stop targeting him. As is the case for every top player, controlling his temperament will be key to allowing him to be at his best. Should opposition defences feel they can frustrate him through means other than just preventing him from having an impact, the level of attention he receives will only increase.