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‘Vinicius can easily play alongside Hazard’ – Rivaldo not expecting Brazilian starlet to be stunted at Real Madrid

22:14 EAT 06/07/2019
Vinicius Junior Real Madrid 2018-19
The Blancos have spent big this summer reinforcing their attacking options, but the teenage talent is being tipped to continue catching the eye

Vinicius Junior can “easily play by Eden Hazard’s side at Real Madrid”, says Rivaldo, with there no reason to believe that big-money signings will stunt the youngster’s progress.

At 18 years of age, the highly rated Brazilian forward remains a rough diamond.

Those at the Santiago Bernabeu are in the process of polishing him, having invested considerable faith and funds in his ability.

Big things are expected of the teenager, who recorded four goals in 31 appearances last season, but Real have spent heavily on reinforcing their ranks this summer.

Luka Jovic and Belgium international Hazard are among those to have been drafted in, but Rivaldo is not expecting their presence to impact on the development of a fellow countryman.

The World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002 told Betfair: “Real Madrid are looking for ways to accommodate star players.

“Despite Vinicius Junior's recent comments, I believe he can easily play by Eden Hazard's side at Real Madrid and they can even form a nice offensive partnership.

“Playing alongside such a quality player as Hazard can only let him more relaxed as he will benefit from it as well as Real Madrid. 

“Vinicius just needs to focus on his work and try to convince [Zinedine] Zidane to make him first choice.

“The club are making many changes to the squad, so they need to adapt to each other, and Zidane's work will be crucial - he is an excellent manager.

“As a player, Zidane was known by being a false lazy on the pitch - very clever - and he certainly has a plan to put these two players together, so they combine and adapt to each other on the pitch.

“Real Madrid should be much stronger next season.”

Vinicius had been hoping to form part of Brazil’s Copa America campaign on home soil this summer, only to see Tite overlook him.

The Selecao saw talismanic forward Neymar pick up a pre-tournament injury, replacing him with Chelsea star Willian, but they have been able to book a final date with Peru – seeing off arch-rivals Argentina in the last four.

“Brazil is building a nice bunch of young players with next World Cup on their minds,” added Rivaldo.

“They're using the Copa America to gain some confidence. It's always nice to pick up some confidence with titles, so Brazil need to round of their strong campaign with a victory this Sunday when they play the Final against Peru.

“I said that Brazil was 100% favourite to win Copa America with Neymar on the team, but without him that would decrease a bit.

“The team has other excellent players who are proving their value and winning a competition without Neymar would testify to their strength.

“Gabriel Jesus has impressed me. We all know that things didn't went well for Jesus at the 2018 World Cup, as he was a regular first choice player and didn't score a single goal.

“But Tite kept his confidence in the kid and Jesus has rewarded his manager. He is still a young player with great potential and time to evolve - he will have many more opportunities.

“Jesus had a tough season, losing some importance in the Manchester City team, but Guardiola will be is happy seeing him shining for the Brazilian national team and gaining confidence for next season.”