New Real Madrid player Vinicius Junior has bid an emotional farewell to home club Flamengo and admitted he is "a bit nervous" about the next chapter of his career.
The Brazilian forward, who turn 18 on Thursday, is traveling to Spain this week to begin preseason training with the three-time defending Europe champions. Real Madrid acquired him in May 2017 for €45 million.
"There are no words to describe what I feel and how happy I was wearing this jersey, being at this club that I have loved since I was born," Vinicius, who spent the past season-and-a-half at Flamengo, wrote on Instagram. "I want to thank the best fans in the world and those of other teams that always send me messages and follow my football!
"I've had the best times of my life and the worst, too...today I leave here happy, honoured, fulfilled, proud and much more. On Friday, I will be traveling to Madrid, Spain, and I am a bit nervous, anxious about this new chapter of my life. This is a new challenge, that I'm overcoming, being so new.
"I want to thank everyone that helped me get here. Thank you, thank you and thank you. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine having such a beautiful and marvelous start to my career. At times I think... do I deserve so much? I thank God every day, may he give me more strength to realise my dreams."
Faltam palavras para descrever o que eu sinto e o quanto eu fui feliz com essa camisa, nesse Clube que eu amo desde que nasci. Passei os melhores momentos da minha vida e os piores também.. e hoje saio daqui feliz, honrado, realizado, orgulhoso, e muito mais. Quero agradecer primeiramente a Deus e a todos que me ajudaram até aqui. A maior torcida do Mundo, e todos os torcedores dos outros times que sempre me mandam mensagens e acompanham o meu futebol! Na sexta-feira embarco pra Espanha/Madrid e estou um pouco nervoso, ansioso pra essa nova etapa da minha vida. Um novo desafio que eu venho superando, sendo tão novo. Que Deus possa me abençoar e também a minha família, que meus amigos possam me ajudar mais e mais que sem dúvida esse é o maior sonho e desafio da minha. Obrigado, obrigado e obrigado. Nem nos meus melhores sonhos eu sonhava com esse início de carreira lindo e maravilhoso. E as vezes fico pensando... Será que eu mereço tanto?! Agradeço a Deus todos os dias, que ele possa me dar ainda mais forças para realizar mais os meus sonhos. Valeu, @flamengo . Eu te amo. Eu sou Mengão! Até logo. ⚫️🔴⚽️
Flamengo directors revealed last year that Madrid had been following the player since he was 11 years old. Vinicius made his senior professional club debut for Flamengo in May 2017, just one month after starring for Brazil at the 2017 South American Under-17 championship, where he was the top scorer and player of the tournament, and days after Real's heavy investment.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez praised the Brazilian starlet earlier this year, saying:"He has personality and a great future."
Vinicius, who recently said it is his dream to play one day with Neymar at Madrid, will not be able to play with his "inspiration" Cristiano Ronaldo.
Madrid sold the club's all-time top scorer to Juventus for €100m, as was Ronaldo's wish. The Portuguese captain has departed the Bernabeu stadium after nine seasons at the club, where he scored 450 goals.