Brazil legend Rivaldo has claimed that Real Madrid forward, Vinicius Junior, can challenge the best players in the world for the Ballon d’Or in 2023.
Vinicius put together his best season as of yet in a Madrid shirt this year, as he scored the only goal of the game in the Champions League final against Liverpool in May.
Vinicius managed to produce an impressive 27 goal involvements in La Liga this season, whilst also adding four Champions League goals on Madrid’s remarkable run to the final.
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The Brazilian is also set to sign a new long-term contract at Madrid until 2027, which is due to be announced in the coming days, reports Fabrizio Romano.
Many within football believe that Vinicius’ team-mate and France striker, Karim Benzema, is the favourite for the award.
Benzema carried Real Madrid through their Champions League campaign with crucial goals against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City, after already producing 27 goals in 32 La Liga matches this season.
However, this has not faded Rivaldo’s judgement in thinking that Vinicius can challenge the best for the Ballon d’Or next year, as he revealed.
“After a fantastic season with Real Madrid, in which he scored the goal that won the Champions League, I can only hope the young Brazilian attacker continues to develop in this way." Rivaldo told Betfair.
"He has improved a lot in front of goal and if he continues like this, he can claim to be the star of Real Madrid because Karim Benzema will retire one day.

Vinicius Junior, unique buteur de la finale de la Ligue des champions remportée par le Real Madrid.

Image credit: Getty Images

"It's hard to name favourites [for the Ballon d'Or] when the season hasn't started, but I don't seem him behind Kylian Mbappe, Kevin De Bruyne and others.
"The titles that each club wins will be very important in the final choice.”
Vinicius has also reiterated the notion that his team-mate Benzema should win the Ballon d’Or this year, despite his fellow Brazilian, Neymar, thinking Vinicius should in fact win it instead.
The Brazilian does believe, however, that the World Cup in Qatar later this year will go a long way to decide who picks up the coveted award in 2023.
“I’m really happy that Neymar said that I should win the Ballon d’Or, but in my opinion, Benzema deserves it more," he said.
“Karim also jokes with me that he wants to win against Brazil at the World Cup final, but there's no way that's going to happen.”
The Ballon d’Or award does tend to go the way of a player who wins a certain trophy, such as the Champions League, European Championships or the World Cup.
So if Brazil do win the World Cup in Qatar later this year, and Vinicius replicates his form going into next season for Real Madrid, then he would definitely be a favourite for the award.
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