La Liga: Vinicius Jr return gives Real Madrid a surprise boost

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Real Madrid had a bad injury record at the start of the 2023/24 season.

Having already lost goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Eder Militao for the season to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, they faced the prospect of losing one of the world’s most prolific and talented attacking players for an extended period of time.

Vinicius Jr. he was forced off Brazil’s defeat in Colombia on 17 November after 27 minutes with a hamstring problem. It is the second such injury for the player, who suffered the problem 18 minutes into Madrid’s La Liga game against Celta Vigo on August 25 and missed the next four games.

The 23-year-old’s absence will weaken Madrid’s attack during a busy run at the end of 2023, but he returned ahead of schedule in January to give Carlo Ancelotti a major boost to Los Blancos’ trophy chase.

What was Vinicius Jr.’s injury?

After Vinicius Jr. replaced Brighton & Hove Albion striker Joao Pedro against Colombia, Madrid issued an update following tests by their medical team.

“He has been diagnosed with a tear in his left biceps femoris which affects the tendon in his hamstring. His recovery will be monitored,” the club said.

Vinicius Jr returns early

Initially thought to be just a six-week lay-off, Vinicius saw his return pushed back with “distal tendon involvement” which delayed his recovery. The Athletic reported that Vinicius believed he would be forced to miss up to two months, but he started for the match against RCD Mallorca on 3 January. He should now be available to take part in the Supercopa de Espana later in the month.

The news is positive as Vinicius should have plenty of time to get back into form before Real Madrid meet RB Leipzig in the Champions League round of 16, with the first leg scheduled for February 13.

What matches did Vinicius Jr miss with a hamstring injury?
In total, Vinicius missed seven games for Real Madrid and Brazil’s World Cup home qualifier defeat to Argentina due to a hamstring injury.

Games Vinicius Jr missed

Team Date Competition Opponent Result
Brazil Nov. 22, 2023 WC qualifying Argentina L 0-1
Real Madrid Nov. 26, 2023 La Liga Cadiz W 3-0
Real Madrid Nov. 29, 2023 Champions League Napoli W 4-2
Real Madrid Dec. 2, 2023 La Liga Granada W 2-0
Real Madrid Dec. 9, 2023 La Liga Real Betis D 1-1
Real Madrid Dec. 12, 2023 Champions League Union Berlin W 3-2
Real Madrid Dec. 17, 2023 La Liga Villarreal W 4-1
Real Madrid Dec. 21, 2023 La Liga Alaves W 1-0

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