Real to sign teen Brazilian striker Vinicius for $71m

Real Madrid have reached a S$71.4 million deal to sign Flamengo's 16-year-old Vinicius Junior (left), seen posing with a fan in Rio de Janeiro.
Real Madrid have reached a S$71.4 million deal to sign Flamengo's 16-year-old Vinicius Junior (left), seen posing with a fan in Rio de Janeiro.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID • Real Madrid have reached a deal with Brazilian side Flamengo to sign forward Vinicius Junior in July next year, the newly crowned Spanish football champions announced yesterday.

Vinicius has only one senior appearance for Flamengo, making his professional debut just 10 days ago in a league game against Atletico Mineiro.

The deal for the 16-year-old is worth €46 million (S$71.4 million), which would make him the second-most expensive signing from the Brazilian league in history.

The costliest is Barcelona's Neymar - who moved from Santos in 2013 for an estimated €86 million - and is a player Vinicius has been likened to.

The fee Real are paying surpasses the initial £36 million (S$64.8 million) paid by Manchester United to Monaco for striker Anthony Martial, who was 19 when he became the world's most expensive teenager in a September 2015 deal that could be worth up to £58 million.

Last August, Manchester City signed Brazilian winger Gabriel Jesus, then aged 19, from Palmeiras for £27 million plus add-ons.

Barcelona were also interested in Vinicius but were unsuccessful in their attempt to sign him.

Vinicius signed a new contract with Flamengo only last week, which extended his deal through to July 2019 and raised his buyout clause from €30 million to €46 million.

Real explained in a statement that they will own the rights to the Brazilian from July 2018, when he turns 18, but he will remain at Flamengo until July 2019 unless both sides agree otherwise.

It is the first transfer Real have announced since the end of their ban on signing players, imposed by Fifa as punishment for breaching rules over the transfer of foreign players under the age of 18.

The teenager has made 22 appearances for the Brazil Under-17s, scoring 19 goals. He was the best performer at the South American Under-17 Championship, in which his Brazil side were crowned champions and he was the leading scorer with seven goals.

He is expected to lead Brazil at the Under-17 World Cup in India in October.

Real described Vinicius on their website as "one of the brightest young talents in world football, a skilful, pacy attacker who is able to go past players and has an eye for goal".

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'Real to sign teen Brazilian striker Vinicius for $71m'. Print Edition | Subscribe