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'Vinicius should be targeting Ballon d'Or' - Casemiro praises Real Madrid teammate

6:29 AM EDT 9/11/19
Vinicius Junior
The 19-year-old's Brazil debut was an underwhelming affair but Casemiro, his Santiago Bernabeu colleague, wants him to "think big"

Casemiro has told Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior to start thinking about the Ballon d'Or and other major prizes after making his Brazil debut.

Vinicius made his first appearance for the Selecao in Tuesday's underwhelming 1-0 defeat to Peru, Brazil's first loss since last year's World Cup.

The 19-year-old has started 10 La Liga matches across the past two seasons, too, and Casemiro believes he needs to be aiming high.

"Vinicius has a very good head and, in the past year, he has surprised many people with the football he played," the midfielder told reporters.

"It is not normal for a 19-year-old boy to do what he did with the Real Madrid shirt. I told him the other day that this year is a year that he has to start thinking big.

"I repeat: what he did last year was not normal. He surprised everyone and showed that he is ready to be a starter at Real Madrid.

"When you are a starting Real Madrid player, you have to think big. Think of the Ballon d'Or, FIFA's World XI. He is a great player and he has already proven it.

"Of course, he is very young, you cannot put too much pressure and weight on his back. But I think he has to start thinking big.

"It is very important for us that he is here with the national team, but we have to be calm; two years ago he was playing in the Flamengo youth team."

Vinicius scored twice in 18 La Liga appearances for Madrid last term, while also adding a further two goals and six assists in cup competitions.

The teenage forward has featured prominently at the start of the 2019-20 season, helping the Blancos earn two draws and a win from their first three fixtures.

After returning from international duty, he will be back in contention to start for Zinedine Zidane's side against Levante on Saturday, before a Champions League clash with Paris Saint Germain four days later.