Vinicius Junior extends Flamengo contract amid Real Madrid interest
Vinicius Junior has renewed his contract with Flamengo -- a move widely reported to be a preliminary step towards him joining Real Madrid for €45 million when he turns 18 in July 2018.
Widespread reports in both Brazil and Spain said Vinicius underwent a medical at Madrid's behest last week, with the European champions having upped their offer to persuade the 16-year-old and his advisors to choose them over Barcelona.
The top scorer and player of the tournament as Brazil won the 2017 South American Under-17 championship in March, Vinicius made his senior professional club debut for Flamengo on Saturday, before a new contract was formally announced which included a pay-rise and his release clause increasing from €30m to €45m.
Vinicius Junior renova contrato com o Flamengo https://t.co/GcU0s4PdO9- Flamengo (@Flamengo) May 15, 2017
"O Clube de Regatas do Flamengo informs that the player Vinicius Junior has renewed his contract," an official statement said. "The agreement sees a salary adjustment and a rise in his release clause for foreign clubs - from 30 to 45 million euros. Having stood out in the Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior in 2017, Vinicius Junior played with the Brazil national side at the most recent South-American Under 17 championship, and joined the professional ranks at Flamengo last week.
The 16 year old made his debut last Saturday, in a 1-1 draw with Atletico-MG."
The new contract had been reported in a Globoesporte story which initially claimed Madrid had won the race for his signature, and would ensure that Flamengo are well rewarded for their role in his development.
Barcelona had previously been heavily linked with a move and the club's South American representative Andre Cury had reportedly been involved in preliminary talks with Flamengo and Vinicius' agents at Traffic.
Mundo Deportivo claimed last week that Blancos president Florentino Perez had successfully done the deal using experienced agent and Neymar advisor Wagner Ribeiro, and gained "revenge" on Barca by agreeing to pay €45m to Flamengo plus an extra €17m to other various parties involved.
Any move to Europe would not be formalised until July 2018 to comply with FIFA youth transfer regulations which only allow international transfers of players under 18 in certain circumstances.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan