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‘Benzema is my idol, it’s an honour to play with him’ – Vinicius Admits

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The Brazilian says he appreciates all the help the Frenchman has given him at the start of his career at Santiago Bernabeu

Vinicius Junior has paid tribute to Karim Benzema for selflessly taking him under his wing when he first made the move to Real Madrid, while describing the striker as his “idol”.

Los Blancos paid a reported €45 million (£41m/$53m) for Vinicius in May 2017, with the winger joining from Flamengo the following year when he turned 18.

Vinicius has already played 72 times for the club, but has struggled for consistency despite often catching the eye with his skilful style of play.

He has started the 2020-21 campaign in impressive fashion, however, scoring the winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid, before getting the opener in a 2-0 win at Levante last weekend.

That was the first time he has scored in consecutive La Liga matches, with there now encouraging signs that the 20-year-old is beginning to find some continuity alongside Benzema in attack.

And Benzema is regarded particularly fondly by Vinicius for the role he has played in his Madrid career to date.

“Karim is an idol, it is an honour to play with him,” Vinicius told RMTV. “We always talk about what I can improve, also how he can help me.

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“When I arrived, he did not know me but he still started to help me. He helped, and now he continues to do so, he tells me to be calm and helps me make the best decisions.

“It is a dream to play with Karim and with all the players who are here. I take advantage of all the moments with everyone and I listen a lot because they help.

“They know that I listen a lot and I learn with them.”

When Vinicius first joined Madrid, comparisons with former Blancos star and fellow countryman Robinho were understandable – flashy tricks were a common theme and he often lacked decisiveness in the final third.

But he feels he has matured already and that he is a completely different player.

“I arrived at the age of 18 and having played only in Brazil, so everything was new for me,” he added.

“I was learning and I continue to do so to help Madrid. Now I am another player. The people at Madrid help me so that I can help now and in the future.

“I’m very good, very happy with my moment, but also with the team. We have to continue like this, improving the things that we are not doing in this different season because we only had a friendly and it is difficult to start.”

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About Kirigaya Kazuto

Kazuto Kirigaya, born as Kazuto Narusaka, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Sword Art Online series of light novels written by Reki Kawahara.

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