12 outrageous stats from Vinicius Jr’s stunning 21-22 season at Real Madrid
Vinicius Junior has been one of the best players in Europe this season for Real Madrid – and he capped off a stunning campaign in perfect style by scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final against Liverpool in Paris.
After a great deal of criticism in his first two seasons at Madrid for his lack of end product, the 21-year-old Brazilian has well and truly come of age in 2021-22.
He has scored or assisted dozens of goals and has been one of Madrid’s main contributors – alongside strike partner Karim Benzema – to his team’s success in the Champions League as well as La Liga.
Explaining Vinicius’ form to SiriusXM, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said: “I think Vinicius is a really talented player. He arrived here at Madrid when he was really, really young and of course it took time for him to reach the top. Because now, in football, talent isn’t enough to reach the top.
“You have to improve your tactical knowledge, your physical condition. I think Vinicius has done really well this season because of this reason. He was able to show his talent because of a base of tactical knowledge and a better physical condition.”
Here (with help from WhoScored, FBRef and Opta) we have rounded up 12 stats to prove just how magnificent Vinicius has been across the length of the season.
– In his final 12 games of the 2020-21 season, Vinicius did not get a single goal or assist. In the first 11 games of this campaign, he got seven goals and three assists.
– In fact, in those 11 games, the Brazil international had already equalled his total of goal contributions from the entire 2020-21 season, when he managed six goals and four assists.
– Vinicius got 22 goals and 16 assists in 2021-22 in all competitions for a total of 38 goal contributions. That is a 280% increase in productivity on 2020-21.
– This season, Vinicius was among the top 10 most productive players in Europe’s big five leagues in terms of total goal contributions. He and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min were the only two players to make that top 10 without taking a single penalty.
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– Vinicius scored or assisted against every team that Real Madrid faced in the knockout stages of this year’s Champions League, coming up trumps when it mattered most.
– With his goal against Liverpool, Vinicius became the fifth-youngest player to score in a Champions League final. At 21 years, 10 months and 16 days old, Vinicius was 18 days younger than Lionel Messi when he scored for Barcelona in the 2009 final against Liverpool’s rivals Manchester United.
– In his 35 La Liga appearances, the Brazilian made 426 progressive carries – defined by FBRef as an action that carries the ball at least five yards towards the opponent’s goal or into the penalty area. That was the most of any player in Europe’s big five leagues. The next best in this regard was Joao Cancelo with 364.
– Vinicius dribbled past 115 players during the La Liga season. That was the most in the league and the only player in Europe’s big five leagues who dribbled past more players was Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin.
– Of Vinicius’ 38 total goal involvements this season, 28 came in La Liga at a rate of 0.9 per 90 minutes. That’s the highest per 90 goal cotribution rate for any Under-21 player in La Liga since 2008-09 when Gonzalo Higuain averaged 0.95 goal contributions per 90 and Lionel Messi managed 1.1 goal contributions per 90.
– In the Champions League, according to FBRef, Vinicius made more shot-creating actions, more goal-creating actions, more key passes and dribbled past more players than anyone else in the competition. How’s that for creativity?
– Oh, and if you weren’t satisfied with that and want to see a bit of hard graft, he made 266 pressures in the competition, also more than any other Champions League player.
– We’ve saved our favourite stat until last, of course. Vinicius pulled off 14 nutmegs in La Liga this season, the most of any player in the division. He brought the fun as well as being brutally effective.