Vinicius Junior has hit full speed at Real Madrid as he has made the leap from being an impact player to an undoubted starter in a frighteningly short period, becoming unstoppable in 2019.
Remarkably, Vinicius is fourth in the list of players when it comes to minutes accumulated in the six games since the start of the year.
At 18 years old, he is rubbing shoulders with Sergio Ramos in terms of minutes played for the European and world champions, and along with Casemiro he is the only player to have featured in all six games in 2019.
It is no longer a dream: Vinicius is one of the first names on the teamsheet at Madrid and even when Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio return, they will find it hard to displace him.
The Brazilian has played 442 minutes in 22 days this year, playing more in under a month than he did between the season beginning and the end of 2018, when he accumulated just 349 minutes.
Injuries have paved the way for Vinicius to become invaluable in the last five games, having been left on the bench in the first match of the year against Villarreal.
Santiago Solari rarely offers individual praise, but he is never shy of highlighting the teenager’s excellence.
“He’s taking big steps,” Solari said of him.
“He always had talent but showing it the [Santiago] Bernabeu speaks for itself.
“He’s 18 and exploding, we have to maintain his level.”