Vinicius is special and can fill Real Madrid's Ronaldo void - Cafu

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The teenage Brazilian forward has been backed by a fellow countryman to help the Blancos counter the loss of their all-time leading goalscorer

Vinicius Junior is a “special” talent and is “the best candidate in football” to step into Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes at Real Madrid, says Cafu.

The Blancos saw a talismanic presence head for the exits at the Santiago Bernabeu over the summer, taking five Ballons d’Or and a record as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with him.

Filling that void was never going to be easy, even for a team loaded with international superstars and favouring a ‘Galactico’ recruitment policy.

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Nobody has stepped up to the plate as yet, with Ronaldo still proving to be a big miss, but Real are considered to boast a potential world-beater on their books.

Vinicius was acquired from Flamengo for €46 million (£41m/$52m) and, at just 18 years of age, has offered enough to convince a fellow Brazilian that he can be a key man in Madrid.

World Cup winner Cafu told Fox Sports Mexico: “Vinicius is not a star at Real Madrid at the moment, but he will be soon.

“Nobody can ever truly replace Cristiano Ronaldo, because he was unique, a one-off, who created an unbelievably legacy of success at the club.

“But what I see in Vinicius is special too, I believe he is the best candidate in football to replace Cristiano and to conquer the world with Madrid.

“There needs to be a lot of patience from others and a lot of hard-work.

“Vinicius is going to triumph at Real Madrid, but he’s not a star yet. He can’t be compared now to Cristiano Ronaldo. Cristiano is Cristiano, with all the history [he has] at Real Madrid. He conquered everything there,” said Cafu.

“Vinicius has all [it takes] to follow in his footsteps. He can be the new Cristiano, but he has to sweat a lot for that to happen.”

Vinicius has been handed five outings for Real so far, recording his first goal for the club in a La Liga clash with Real Valladolid.

He has previously expressed his disappointment at having missed out on the chance to play alongside Ronaldo in the Spanish capital, but is now seeking to make his own mark in Madrid.

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