Vinicius Jr.'s starts at Real Madrid and Osman Dembele at Barcelona have been tough, but they may make the change over time • On Saturday they will try to make a mark and the rival's championship hopes
Fear did its thing
Osman Dembele and Vinicius Jr. are no strangers to the Clasico.
The two took part in several of the huge encounters between Real Madrid and Barcelona - the Brazilian even scored last season and the Frenchman cooked up in the cup meeting - and yet it seems that the important game on Saturday is both at their most beautiful time since landing in Spain.
Barça's Frenchman after a 90-minute victory over Valladolid, who was his fifth in the last month and a half and gave Barça second place, while the Real Madrid Brazilian after a formidable double against Liverpool in the Champions League, gave Blancos a big advance in the quarter-finals.
In general, one can find many parallel lines between Vinicius and Dembele.
Both came to the Spanish luxury teams at a young age as great talents relying on ball control, and for both the start was difficult.
In the case of the Brazilian, who arrived from Flamengo at the age of 18, the jump seems to have been too big and fast.
According to those close to him, it was only this season that he was supposed to start his career as a Real Madrid player.
Zidane and Vinicius.
"Fantastic things" // Photo: IPI
"The plan was to move up to the first team after two years, not after six months," his agent Fred Pena told El Pais, but due to constraints Vinicius was called to the flag before he was ready.
The dismissal of Santiago Solari and the return of Zinedine Zidane did not add up, and the Brazilian took a long time to understand the demands of the French coach, and especially those of Crimea Benzema.
About six months ago, in a game against Mönchengladbach, the striker was photographed saying to defender Perlan Mandy: "Do not give up on him, I swear to you that he is playing against us."
, who arrived in the summer of 2017 from Dortmund when he was 19, also suffered from acclimatization difficulties.
In just under four years, he suffered ten different injuries that sidelined him from 85 games, in addition to discipline and behavioral issues that cast great doubt on the 145 million euros that Barcelona paid for him.
Last season, worst of all, the Frenchman recorded just five appearances, in which he scored one goal.
"Osman understood that if he continues like this, he will end his professional career," one of the Barcelona men explained the dramatic change that the extreme season is going through.
What Messi, Griezmann, Langela and Avidel, who failed in their attempts at persuasion, failed to do, Fear did.
Fearing that the end would come before the climax, the Frenchman added a cook, fitness trainer and physiotherapist to his team this year.
Dembele this season is less fragile, and against Valladolid he recorded a 16th game in a row without injury or pain - an eternity in his terms.
Vinicius also suffered from medical problems.
After tearing his ankle ligaments in a game against Ajax in 2019, Real decided to import Thiago Lobo, Santos' fitness coach, who is considered one of the most respected in Brazil.
Lobo, like all the Brazilian's entourage, lives with Vinicius in his huge house in Madrid, where they all help the Brazilian fulfill his life's dream.
As could be seen after the second goal against Liverpool, when he pointed to the club's emblem and shouted "I'm here", Vinicius is determined to be at Real Madrid.
He has no interest in moving to another group and he will fight tooth and nail on the white shirt.
"I always dreamed of playing here, and I will do anything to make it happen," he said at the end of the game.
Coman. Giving Dembele a back // Photo: Reuters
Giving Dembele a back // Photo: Reuters
Dembele, although it does not always seem that way, dreamed of playing for Barça.
"It's a dream because it's the best club in the world, with the best players in the world," he said on the day he was introduced.
The actions he has been taking recently and which have led to a huge improvement in his ability, have caused Barça to no longer question him.
He has the support of Messi and Coman and also of Juan Laporta.
"I'm a big fan of his," the president-elect said, "he's the kind of player I want to be here for many years. He's a genius who needs to be kept."
Vinicius also upgraded the ability, and accordingly also his status in the team.
"We see fantastic things from him," Zidane said.
The Brazilian and Frenchman have recently taken to the track, and have no intention of getting off it now.
The Clasico, for both, is an opportunity to press the turbo button.