Vitinho Reflects on His Football Journey
Vitinho’s journey has not been easy, and the road to fame has been tough on the 26-year-old. He is one of the most popular players in Flamengo. He started his career with Botafogo before moving from two teams until he reached the Brazilian Champions.
He began his youth career back in 2007 when he played for Audax Rio. He opted to move then to Botafogo after three years. He played for the first team right away, but he only appeared once in a Continental match, where he scored a goal which was his first and last for that season.
While his 2012 season was a disappointing one, the 2013 season was big for him. He scored four goals in 16 games in the Serie A. He also played seven games in the World Cup and drained a big goal which was his last for the team.
He inked a five-year deal with the Russian Premier League champions CSKA Moscow back in 2013. This was a big step in his football career as he moved out of his country for the first time. While being uncomfortable, he also struggled to be in the first team. He played for just 10 games and remained mostly as an unused substitute.
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He did not score a single goal in his first season with the team, but then he managed to log one goal in the 2014-15 season. He played in five games during that stretch, but he improved and became one of the regular substitutes and had five goals in 13 games in the next season.
His next year with the team saw him being given with a lot of playing time, showing up in 30 games for CSKA, and he tallied 10 goals in that season for the team.
He moved to Flamengo in the 2018 season, where he became a fan favourite. He quickly rose to prominence and played 22 games in the first season. He became a part of the team’s recent magical run that saw them winning the Brazil Serie A title and the Copa Libertadores final against River Plate.
He played a total of 52 games that season, including their loss against Liverpool in the Club World Cup final.
Despite being a 12th player, he was still happy with his team.
‘It doesn't bother me, but my self wants to be remembered, wants to be among the 11 holders. I work daily for this and I'm sure I will have a good time yet’, said Vitinho.
In his first stint with the team, he wasn’t sure what to expect, and a lot of that changed when the team named Jorge Jesus as the new manager.
‘I arrived very expectantly. I was very happy to have realized a dream. I wanted to bring great deeds to me and Flamengo. At times, this did not happen’, said Vitinho. ‘There was a demonstration, bad events. But I worked daily to reverse this situation. I have reached my small daily goals to gain confidence and give Flamengo everything it expects from me’.
He learned a lot under Jesus, and he improved his game as the team went on to their magical run.
‘I learned a lot. I feel more experienced and mature. I think I've evolved a lot with what he went through. Tactically, a lot. Even for the different style, he brought to Brazil. For me, the differential was the defensive positioning’.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores