Sterling also had trouble scoring - Vinicius 'working hard' to become a success at Real Madrid

By Sports Desk December 12, 2019

Real Madrid teenager Vinicius Junior says he is "working hard" to follow the path of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling by becoming a more regular goalscorer.

Vinicius slotted home from close range for his first goal since September in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League.

The Brazil international has netted six times in 43 appearances for Madrid, who he joined from Flamengo in July 2018, a year after his reported €45million buyout clause was triggered.

Vinicius does not believe his game is suited to scoring goals freely, but he hopes to improve in that department over time.

Citing the example of Sterling, who has become increasingly clinical in front of goal over the past few seasons, the 19-year-old attacker said: "I don't play to score. I play to help the team.

"Sterling at City also had trouble scoring goals. I left Brazil very early and I'm working hard to do great things."

Vinicius' compatriot Rodrygo Goes was also on target for Madrid in Belgium, taking his tally to six goals for the campaign.

Rather than being envious of Rodrygo's impressive start to life at the Santiago Bernabeu, though, Vinicius is pleased for his team-mate.

"We're friends," he said, according to Marca. "I'm happy because he is doing things very well."

Related items

  • Zidane: No shame in Real Madrid's shock Copa del Rey loss Zidane: No shame in Real Madrid's shock Copa del Rey loss

    Zinedine Zidane insisted there was no shame in Real Madrid's shock loss to third-tier side Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey.

    Madrid were stunned by the Segunda Division B outfit in the last 32 as Juanan scored a 115th-minute winner on Wednesday.

    Jose Solbes had earlier cancelled out Eder Militao's opener and Alcoyano found a winner despite Ramon Lopez's red card in extra time.

    But Madrid head coach Zidane dismissed suggestions the defeat was shameful for the LaLiga champions.

    "Those are your words. Those words, they do not belong to me," he told a news conference.

    "This is football, difficult things because it's true that we play against a Segunda B team and we need to win the match normally, but at the end it hasn't been like that and this does not mean that this is a shame. It can happen and it happens sometimes in a footballer's career and responsibility must be assumed. I completely do.

    "We will keep working … another painful day because we don't like to lose and overall for the players, because they just want to win. We won't get crazy now, let's think and keep working."

    Excluding the defeat to Cadiz in 2015 for an illegal line-up, Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by a lower-league side for the first time since 2009.

    No goalkeeper has made more saves than Jose Juan Figueras (10) in a game against Madrid this season as Zidane's men suffered back-to-back cup losses.

    Asked if the players still believed in him, Zidane said: "Yes, I believe so. Then you have to ask them.

    "We work, we try and lately we have done good things even though lately a bit less, but apart from the last three or four games, I believe that we have done good things this season.

    "Now we have to think on LaLiga and the Champions League and that's it. To focus because things can be done. But if the players are still touched by my message? You have to ask the players. I believe so and we are in the same boat here."

  • Klopp unsure over Van Dijk return despite 'very promising' rehabilitation Klopp unsure over Van Dijk return despite 'very promising' rehabilitation

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp provided a promising update on Virgil van Dijk, but he remains unsure when the star defender will return for the Premier League champions.

    Van Dijk underwent surgery on his knee in October after suffering a serious injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

    The Netherlands international has been missed by Liverpool, who are fourth and six points adrift of rivals Manchester United ahead of hosting Burnley on Thursday.

    Klopp was upbeat about Van Dijk's rehabilitation, but he is unsure when the 29-year-old might return.

    "He looks really good," Klopp told a news conference.

    "I spoke this morning to him on the phone, he is in a really good mood so it's all very promising but I don't know when he will be back.

    "There are for sure a lot of stages still to go over or to pass, whatever, that's clear. I had this injury myself.

    "For the time we are in and for how long he is out now, how long the rehabilitation is going on, he looks really, really promising."

    Since Van Dijk's Premier League debut for Liverpool in January 2018, Klopp's men have won 72 of 95 games with him in their side.

    That win percentage of 75.8 drops to 50 in the 14 league games in which Van Dijk has been absent.

    Liverpool have also averaged more goals for (2.3 to 1.9) with Van Dijk, and also conceded more with him (0.8 to 0.6) than without him.

    Klopp's side, however, have struggled for consistency so far this season and head into their clash against Burnley on a four-game winless run in the league.

  • Zidane 'very calm' after Copa del Rey exit: Whatever has to happen will happen Zidane 'very calm' after Copa del Rey exit: Whatever has to happen will happen

    Zinedine Zidane accepted Real Madrid's stunning Copa del Rey exit to third-tier Alcoyano will lead to further speculation over his future, but insisted he remained "very calm" over the situation.

    Madrid were knocked out of the competition by lower league opponents for the first time since 2009 despite taking the lead on Wednesday, Eder Militao heading them in front on the stroke of half-time.

    However, the reigning top-flight champions in Spain were unable to build on the lead, meaning an 80th-minute equaliser from Jose Solbes forced extra time.

    A penalty shoot-out seemed the likely method to settle the last-32 tie, only for Juanan to pop up with a dramatic late winner that will no doubt increase the growing pressure on Zidane.

    "When you lose there is always talk, I take responsibility and whatever has to happen will happen," the Madrid boss told the media in his post-match interview. 

    "I am very calm. The players wanted to win the game, they try and sometimes different things happen."

    Zidane rested some of his regulars but still selected a strong starting XI, while Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard were all introduced from the bench during proceedings.

    The Frenchman could not fault the effort of his players as he accepted blame for the result; Alcoyano finished the game with 10 men too, Ramon Lopez sent off before Juanan's 115th-minute strike.

    Madrid finished up having 26 shots - 11 of which were on target - and had 73 per cent of possession, yet still crashed out.

    "The players have tried and if we score the second goal it is another match, football is like that," Zidane added after the 2-1 loss.

    "The goalkeeper has made two or three saves and we have not scored the second goal, but I take responsibility. We are out."

    He added: "This is football, it is very difficult because we played against a Segunda Division B team and we have to win the game, but it has not been like that.

    "It can happen, it happens, these are things that happen in a football career. I assume responsibility and we will continue working. We will not go crazy."

    Madrid must quickly put the cup result behind them as they continue their LaLiga title defence on Saturday, travelling to Deportivo Alaves.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.