The WhatsApp message that saw Vinicius choose Real Madrid over Barcelona

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The story of Vinicius is one of a boy who dreamed of playing for Real Madrid and almost ended up playing for Barcelona instead. In fact, he was closing in on a move to Barca before Madrid swooped in and made sure the promising Brazilian chose the Santiago Bernabeu instead of Camp Nou.

The key moment took place on April 21, 2017. Until then, Barcelona were leading the race for Vinicius ahead of Real Madrid, with both sides having communicated to Flamengo they were willing to pay the player's €45 million (£39m/$54m) release clause. Vinicius's parents had visited Barcelona's facilities and were convinced of their quality. 

However, Real Madrid, led by the club's head of international football Juni Calafat, interrupted their great rivals' move for the then-16-year-old.

Vinicius was given three days to decide and, although the pressure for a boy his age was tremendous, he listened to his heart. That may sound like a cliche, but the truth is that he chose Real Madrid, even though Barcelona offered him a little more money.

And so he sent a WhatsApp message to one of his representatives, Lucas Mineiro: "Real, mate. We're going to the biggest club in the world."

Vinicius Junior Lucas Mineiro WhatsApp Real Madrid Barcelona

Four years after that message, Vinicius has played 106 games with Real Madrid, having become the fastest foreign player in club history to reach 100 appearances.

With 14 goals and 22 assists, he is averaging one goal involvement every 153 minutes. During this period he has also been called up twice by the Brazil national team, with which he debuted on September 11, 2019 against Peru.

With the progress Vinicius is making, a contract through 2024 and a house under construction in the capital, where he feels very comfortable, his goal is to stay in Spain for a long time.

Vinicius Junior Real Madrid Barcelona GFX

This Saturday, Vinicius will face a Barcelona side that once loved him and now fears him at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

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In his five previous Clasicos, he has stood out for his verticality and power, even leaving Gerard Pique on the ground, and he scored in the March 2020 Clasico that saw Madrid win 2-0. That goal proved key as Madrid would eventually win the league when play resumed after the pandemic break.

Vinicius is 10th in minutes this year (1,947) for Los Blancosand is coming off a tremendous midweek display against Liverpool in which he became the youngest Real Madrid player to score a double in the Champions League. 

As head coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday of his team's young Brazilian star. "We are enjoying him, we are happy."