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Real Madrid-bound teenager Vinicius Jr hails rapid progress

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-26 09:58
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Brazil's Flamengo Vinicius Junior celebrates his goal against Emelec of Ecuador during their Copa Libertadores 2018 football match at George Capwell stadium in Guayaquil, Ecuador, March 14, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior has admitted that his progress with Flamengo has been faster than expected as he moves closer to a summer move to Real Madrid.

Vinicius became the most expensive teenage footballer ever last May when the Spanish giants agreed to sign him for 45 million euros.

The transfer is slated to take place in July, though Flamengo are reportedly negotiating with the reigning Spanish and European champions to keep the 17-year-old until 2019.

A year after his professional debut, Vinicius has made 54 first-team appearances for the Rio club and scored 10 goals.

"I'm supposed to still be playing at underage level," Vinicius told Globo Esporte. "I skipped some stages, which I'm happy about.

"One year is not long. The more experienced players helped me get to where I am now with my current mentality on and off the pitch. But I didn't think everything would happen so fast."

The forward's best Flamengo performance to date came in a Copa Libertadores match against Ecuador's Emelec in Quito last month. Vinicius came off the bench to score two late goals - one after dribbling past two defenders - to hand his team a memorable 2-1 victory.

He said he has becoming more team-orientated over the past year, while maintaining his natural attacking flair.

"In the youth teams I didn't defend much but at this level it's more tactical," Vinicius said. "When I started I tried to attack every time I had the ball. Now I am more selective, but also more confident that I can take them [defenders] on and win.

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