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Champions League: Vinicius Junior focused on Real Madrid amid Ballon d’Or claims

Can Vinicius Junior win the Ballon d'Or after helping Real Madrid reach another Champions League final? The Brazilian says he is only focusing on his team for now.

Vinicius Junior

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior has dismissed claims that he is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or after helping steer the club into another Champions League final.

Los Blancos will have the chance to win their 15th UCL title if they can beat Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on 1 June and they qualified for the event in typical Madrid fashion.

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Carlo Ancelotti’s side trailed 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday and 3-2 on aggregate before super-sub Joselu came on and scored a brace to turn the tie on its head.

It was a dramatic affair with Bayern claiming they should have had an equaliser in the dying seconds while Madrid had an equaliser ruled out earlier in the match.

Vinicius Jr. was the danger man and had Joshua Kimmich scrambling to catch him on more than one occasion as the hosts mounted their comeback.

The 23-year-old won Player of the Match despite Joselu’s crucial goals and with Harry Kane eliminated from the completion, he is now the frontrunner to win the coveted Ballon d’Or.

Real Madrid royalty

Speaking on the award, he said: “Everyone talks about the Ballon d’Or but I’m very calm. I want to win another Champions League with this team.

“I can do great things this season and then I have to go with Brazil [for the Copa América]. I always think about the teams first and then me.

“We were able to place the best team in the world in another final.

“We have 25 stars in the team, all of us have worked hard to achieve our aim which is to go to London [for the Champions League final] and to win LaLiga.

“We have won LaLiga, we are going to London.

“I came here [to Madrid] when I was young, 18.

“I was criticised a lot and that made me work a lot more in order to be ready when the time came…I train every day to improve…I’m now here, in another final.

“I’ve never worked in a group that is as united as ours is this season. This group works a lot.”

Beware of Bellingham

The Ballon d’Or is not guaranteed to fall into the hands of Vini Jr. as his team-mate Jude Bellingham has also caught the eye in 2023-24.

England’s star midfielder is also a top contender to win the award and should England win Euro 2024 he could overtake the Brazilian winger as the favourite.

It was a quiet night in Madrid against Bayern but Bellingham has been instrumental in his club’s success this season.

He has scored 18 goals in LaLiga, already overtaking David Beckham’s total tally for his time playing in Spain.

Now he will go up against the club he left last season in the Champions League final and the 20–year-old will be determined to have an impact on Europe’s biggest stage.

Picture of Mitch Fretton

Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.

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