“We call him Vinigol” – view from Portugal on Carlos Vinicius
Sat 10 October 2020, 10:39|Tottenham Hotspur
Last week, Carlos Vinicius completed his loan move from Benfica to N17, but what can we expect from our new man on the pitch?
After the striker swapped Lisbon for London, we turned to Tiago Peres Costa of Sport TV – the Premier League broadcast rights-holders in Portugal – to learn a bit more about our new Brazilian forward…
Tiago Peres Costa: “I remember when he played in the youth league in Palmeiras, he was a central defender but towards the end of his time there, the coach asked him to play up front. It was a huge idea, but he started to score goals and, so, became a striker. It's a nice story.
“In 2017, he moved to Portugal to play for Real Sport Clube. He finished his first season as the second highest goalscorer of the Championship with 19 goals – 20 in all competitions – yet, the club was demoted to the third tier after finishing in last position. So, he made a great impact because it’s not normal for a club that was demoted to the third division to have had one of the league’s top scorers. After that immediate impact in Portugal, he was bought by Napoli in Italy, but he never played an official game there, so he returned to Portugal on loan in 2018 to play in the First Division for Rio Ave. He played 20 games and scored 14 goals – another great impact. After Rio Ave, he went to Monaco in Ligue 1, France where it didn’t go too well – he only scored two goals – but Benfica, one of the biggest clubs in Portugal, bought him because the numbers that he had registered previously in Portugal were unbelievable. Last year, in one season there, he scored 24 goals and made 13 assists in all competitions.
“He has a nickname here in Portugal - ‘Vinigol’. We also knew him as Vinicius - we didn’t call him Carlos. With Vinicius, we called him ‘Vinigol’ because he scored lots of goals in the teams that he played for in Portugal, so it will be good for Tottenham supporters to start calling him ‘Vinigol’ – I think he would like it!”
Tiago Peres Costa: “He’s a striker, a number nine, a forward with mobility and he has a great left foot. One of the things he can improve on is his work with the right foot but last year, he developed his heading game – he scored many goals with his head. When he arrived in Portugal, he wasn’t so good with his head but now he has developed that part of his game very well.
“He’s only 25 years old. He’s very tall, he’s strong against defenders, he can take and keep the ball very well and combine with the players around him to get them into the area. He’s very good with his left foot - he strikes the ball very well with it."
Tiago Peres Costa: “He is a very humble guy yet, even with Benfica being the biggest club in terms of history in Portugal, he arrived and became the top goalscorer at the club in his first season - a huge impact.
“He’s a guy with good confidence. Now he has a Portuguese coach who can talk to him in his language in Jose Mourinho and his technical staff, I think he can improve, especially with the pace and intensity of the Premier League. He is a coach’s player and now he is an adult. When Harry Kane needs to rest, Vinicius can step up and perform the role very well. Whether that be in the Europa League or even a hard game in the Premier League… say if Tottenham are drawing 0-0 with 20 minutes to go, he can play perfectly alongside Kane and it will be a powerful strike force.
“A point in favour for him is he will not be the main striker for Spurs. He will work alongside one of the best forwards in the world in the shape of Harry Kane so we can say that he can only improve. With the players behind him providing him with assists, I think it will be easy for him to score goals for Tottenham. One handicap is that he doesn’t speak English very well, so he will need to improve that but the language of the field, of scoring goals, he knows that very well. I think over the next few seasons, if he continues to improve, he could be called into Brazil’s national team.”