‘This is Vinícius’ moment’ – Ancelotti on Real Madrid star’s form

Carlo Ancelotti praised Vinícius Júnior on Friday after the forward’s starring role in Real Madrid‘s Champions League semifinal win over Bayern Munich, saying “this is Vinícius’ moment.”

The Brazil international was the outstanding player in Madrid’s 2-1 comeback win over Bayern at the Bernabéu on Wednesday after scoring twice in the first leg a week earlier.

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Vinícius, 23, has also scored 13 goals in LaLiga this season, helping clinch the title for Madrid with four games to spare.

“He’s among the best [in the world],” Ancelotti said in a news conference on Friday. “This is Vinícius’ moment. He’s contributing a lot. He’s helped the team get to the Champions League final, and he helped the team win the league.”

Vinícius’ performances have led to speculation that he might be a candidate to win the 2024 Ballon d’Or.

“It isn’t handed out today,” Ancelotti said, when asked if the forward should receive the award. “He isn’t lacking much. He has one more game, the [Champions League] final, and he has the Copa América coming up. If he does well in the final and in the Copa América, he could win it.”

Ancelotti called Vinícius “a very serious professional,” praising his attitude.

“When I arrived [at Real Madrid in 2021], I’d only seen him on TV,” Ancelotti said. “I got here and I found a player with a spectacular talent. Around that talent, he’s been able to add a lot of things: the ability to lose his marker, more efficiency in front of goal. He’s done it with a spectacular daily work ethic, always very focused in training.”

Ancelotti said there were “doubts” as to whether midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni — diagnosed with a stress injury in his left foot — would recover in time for the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on June 1, and he would use Madrid’s remaining league games, starting away at Granada on Saturday, to rotate his team.

[Thibaut] Courtois will play, and [Éder] Militao will play, they need minutes,” Ancelotti said. “I also have to take into account players who’ve played less, but have contributed a lot.”