Jordi Alba refused to dignify a question about comparing his Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid starlet Vinicius Junior with a response after the Blaugrana beat Eibar 3-0 at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Barça are currently top of La Liga, sitting five points above Atletico Madrid in second. Goals from Luis Suarez and Messi were enough to take all three points for the Catalans, meaning Santiago Solari’s Real side are still playing catchup, sitting ten points adrift despite their dramatic win away at Real Betis.
Reporter: In Madrid, they're comparing Vinicius with Lionel Messi…— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) January 14, 2019
Jordi Alba: Good night https://t.co/FIc5BLyKSF
It has been a really tough season for Los Blancos, with a 5-1 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico ending former boss Julen Lopetegui’s reign just months after he was hired the day before Spain’s World Cup campaign kicked off in Russia.
Transition is definitely the word at the Santiago Bernabeu this season, after the departures of both manager Zinedine Zidane, who led them to three successive Champions League crowns, and Cristiano Ronaldo, their record goalscorer, who signed for Juventus.
There were no major signings in the summer for the third year running, but one player who has been a bright spark has been the Brazilian youngster Vinicius. Still only 18, he cost them €46million from Flamengo, and after a spell in the youth team, he has shone in the famous white shirt so far, despite playing only eight league games and scoring once.
But comparisons to Messi are extremely far-fetched at this stage of his development, something Alba made clear by simply answering “good night” when asked to comment on that notion.
Vinicius is yet to make a full international appearance for Brazil yet, so putting too much pressure on his shoulders is not a sensible idea. But it just shows how desperate Real are for a new talisman.
Vinicius Jr starting tonight despite not being able to train yesterday due to flu – which shows just how important 18 year old become to Madrid / Solari in just a few months.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 13, 2019
Alba was also asked for an update on his contract situation at Barça: “Everything is still the same with my renewal,” he said. “I have one year left on my deal. I don’t know what the club think or what they want to do.
“At the end of the day, it’s their decision. But I am relaxed. They have to decide if they want me to renew or not. My desire is to stay here for many years.”
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