Vinicius Jr graphic

Underappreciated Vinicius Jr should consider leaving Real Madrid after being treated like a disposable asset in the Kylian Mbappe soap opera

"It's incredible the way he puts fear into defenders, how easily he can dribble one way or another. When he has more consistency with his final ball, he'll be a God of football."

Former Real Madrid midfielder Guti ranked Vinicius Jr above Kylian Mbappe as the best forward in European football when speaking to El Chiringuito in April last year, which raised a few eyebrows. After all, Mbappe finished the 2022-23 campaign with 41 goals for Paris Saint-Germain, including seven in eight Champions League appearances, and added another Ligue 1 title to his trophy collection.

However, Vinicius racked up 44 goal involvements of his own, a career-best total, despite playing in a Madrid side that suffered a serious hangover as a collective after their La Liga and Champions League double in 2021-22. Carlo Ancelotti's men did get their hands on some more silverware in the form of the Copa del Rey, but Barcelona ultimately knocked them off their perch as the best team in Spain, and they were humiliated by Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Article continues below

Los Blancos probably wouldn't have got that far had it not been for Vinicius, who recorded three goals and four assists during their last-16 and quarter-final victories over Liverpool and Chelsea, respectively. In stark contrast, Mbappe went missing as PSG suffered another exit in the first knockout stage at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Injuries have hampered Vinicius' progress this season, but he's been decisive once again since returning to the fold at the start of the year, most notably scoring a stunning hat-trick in Real's Supercopa final victory over Barca. Guti's "God of football" claims wouldn't seem farfetched to anyone that watched the Brazilian terrorise the Blaugrana defence on that special night in Saudi Arabia, with his decision-making in the final third faultless throughout the 90 minutes.

And yet, it has been widely reported that Real are ready to invite offers for Vinicius to finally fund a deal for Mbappe in the summer - after chasing the PSG talisman's signature for the best part of three years. To put it simply: Vinicius deserves far more appreciation, and would be wise to explore a transfer, because it's clear he is never going to get it at Santiago Bernabeu.