Jamie Carragher says Vinicius Junior “goes higher up the list” of the best players in world football every time he watches him play for Real Madrid, and joked that he would be considered the very best if he had scored a second against Manchest City.
The Brazilian opened the scoring for Madrid at the Bernabeu in the 1-1 draw, letting a pass drift across his body before rifling the ball into the corner past Ederson.
Speaking at half-time of the enthralling Champions League encounter, Carragher said: “Typical Real Madrid, Manchester City had dominated the possession and they were so in control, but you can’t always press all over the pitch and go man to man, sometimes you need zonal. Bernardo Silva, Rodri… [get left by] Camavinga and he runs into acres of space.
“Vinicius Jr, he comes inside because Camavinga is on that overlap and I mean, what a strike that is. I said before the game, he’s in the top five players in the world, any time I watch him play, he goes higher up that list.”
Micah Richards then jumped in and asked: “Top two now?”
And with tongue in cheek, Carragher responded: “Mmm… he’ll be top one if he gets another one!”
Steve McManaman was similarly impressed by Vinicius’ strike on commentary: “I didn’t know a man his size could hit it that hard!”
The goal was the winger’s 23rd of the season, with his goal in last year’s final securing Madrid’s 14th European Cup with victory over Liverpool.
Rio Ferdinand also marvelled at the goal but was also impressed on how Real Madrid had controlled the first half.
“I’ve marvelled at the composure, the bravery, how Real just sit and wait,” Ferdinand said.
“City have come here, they’ve absolutely battered them possession wise, but that counts for nothing, they sit in and wait, they’re composed, they concentrate and then when it comes for them to pounce, the clinical element of this team speaks for itself.
“Modric wins the ball, beats the press. Vinicius, I was going bananas, this was crazy.”
Sitting alongside Ferdinand, Michael Owen questioned whether City could have stopped the Brazilian before he attempted his special shot at goal.
Owen said: “It’s a great finish. There are a lot of numbers back for City, can someone engage slightly earlier? You can’t take anything away from that finish.”