Vinicius Jr And Real Madrid Have A 15th Champions League In Their Sights

After hitting five at Anfield, who can stop them?
11:00, 22 Feb 2023

Real Madrid and the Champions League. It truly is a match made in heaven. It’s like those in white hear that famous anthem and go into another dimension. One where losing simply isn’t a possibility and where even in the most unlikely circumstances, winning feels like their destiny. 

At Anfield, they were 2-0 down after just 14 minutes. It felt like another famous European night on the red half of Merseyside was on the cards as the crowd rose to the occasion. So many elite teams have been blown away by Jurgen Klopp’s relentless Liverpool, but this is Real Madrid. 

Before you could even contemplate their hopes of turning the tie around at the Santiago Bernabeu, they’d brought the scores level. Then they scored again. And again. And again. Tie over. It’s no wonder Carlo Ancelotti referred to winger Vinicius Jr as the “most decisive player in world football.”


He is simply sensational. The Brazilian scored twice to drag his team level and was a constant threat that Trent Alexander-Arnold couldn’t deal with. He, along with Karim Benzema, was a key reason why Los Blancos won last year’s Champions League and now he could lead them to a 15th European crown.

To put that in perspective, no other club has won more than seven. Real Madrid aren’t just the biggest and most dominant club in the world. They are the best by an absolute mile. In Vinicius Jr, they have finally found a star than has filled the gargantuan void that Cristiano Ronaldo left at the club. 

He was always going to be impossible to replace. Eden Hazard tried and failed while Gareth Bale didn’t shoulder the increased responsibility well. But Ballon d’Or holder Benzema stepped up the plate to score the goals, and with the pressure off, Vini has been able to flourish. 

When they signed him on his 18th birthday for €46m, he became the most expensive signings under the age of 19 in football history. Four and a half years later he is at the top of his game and that figure looks measly for the return Real Madrid have got from their investment. Whether he is the most decisive player in world football as his illustrious manager suggests is still up for debate, Kylian Mbappe may have something to say about that, but he has certainly developed into one of the finest forwards on the planet. 

Along with Vini and Benzema, Ancelotti has Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga running the show alongside the glorious Luke Modric. Toni Kroos came off the bench at Anfield. Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao are both top centre-backs and Thibaut Courtois is arguably the finest goalkeeper in the world - even if he had a little mishap on Merseyside. 

So considering this stacked squad and their relentless winning mentality, why on earth aren’t they outright favourites to win the entire competition again this season? They aren’t even in the top two! Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are currently 7/4 favourites to win the Champions League with Betfred, while Bayern Munich are priced at 7/2. City haven’t won the European Cup in their history, while Bayern’s last success on the continent came a decade ago! 

Although history doesn’t tell us everything, the fact that Real Madrid - 14 time champions of Europe, current holders and slaughterers of Liverpool are still priced at 6/1 feels absolutely mad. They’ve won more Champions League titles in the last ten years than PSG, Man City, Napoli, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Porto have in their entire history - combined! 

In a two-legged knockout game, there is nobody they cannot beat. They showed lat season in unlikely circumstances that they can knockout Man City, while a collision with Bayern would be mouthwatering, but Madrid would still have the backing of many. 

They are the eternal winners. The kings of the continent. Don’t be surprised if Real Madrid lift their 15th crown in June.  

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