Carlo Ancelotti has praised Vinicius Junior as the “best in the world” after helping Los Blancos into the Champions League quarter-finals in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Liverpool. Vinicius provided the assist for Benzema’s 78th-minute winner in the second leg of the last-16, having netted twice while setting up another in the 5-2 first-leg victory at Anfield three weeks ago. Ancelotti stated Vinicius was “one of the best players in the world” prior to their Copa del Rey clash with Barcelona earlier this month, and he now cannot see anyone better.
“For me, he’s the best in the world,” Ancelotti told reporters. “Today he didn’t score, but he played very well and provided a goal.”The Brazil international has scored 19 goals this season, along with 10 assists. Vinicius is one of only two players to have both scored and assisted 10-plus goals (13 goals and 10 assists) across the last three editions of the Champions League, alongside Kylian Mbappe (21 goals and 11 assists). The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021-22 with 17 LaLiga goals and 22 in all competitions for Los Blancos as they won a league and Champions League double.Vinicius finished eighth in the voting for last year’s Ballon d’Or, won by team-mate Benzema, while he came 11th for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award won by Lionel Messi last month. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Benzema’s goal, the scorer appeared to be hampered by an ankle injury and was quickly replaced by Rodrygo. “It’s a blow, nothing more,” Ancelotti said. “I hope there will be no problems.”