Real Madrid-bound Vinicius Junior may be worth €200 million - Edmundo
Real Madrid have spent a reported €45 million on 16-year-old Vinicius Junior in order to avoid a repeat of losing out on Neymar to Barcelona, according to former Brazil international Edmundo, who believes the teenager could one day be worth €200m.
Madrid have confirmed a deal has been done with Flamengo to sign the Brazil youth international, who only made his senior professional debut earlier this month, and who will remain with the Brazilian club at least until he turns 18 in July 2018.
Barca had also been working on a deal for the highly rated youngster, and reports in Spain have claimed Madrid gained "revenge" for losing out on Neymar back in 2015 by agreeing to pay up to €62m divided between Flamengo and other various parties involved.
Edmundo told Marca that he felt Madrid had not wanted to risk further disappointment and predicted that if Vinicius develops as expected the Bernabeu outfit will have got a €200m player.
"Madrid did not want to take the risk that Barca signed him and then lose another jewel," Edmundo said. "They need a substitute for [Karim] Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and other players. They need to renew their team with youth. They do not want Vinicius to go to Europe with another team, and then have to sign him later. I believe they have made a bet on him."
Edmundo said while it is impossible to know how youngsters will develop, there are signs that Madrid's purchase will represent good value for money.
"If he goes well at Madrid he will be worth €200m," he said. "He is very good for his age, better than average, but he must develop a lot yet. Neymar did not fall off with his physical development, but Robinho did. You cannot find a good player in Europe for less than €100m.
"They are making a bet on him, he is on an excellent path, he has everything to be a star. Real Madrid have made their bet and believe he can be a new Galactico. Now the player needs to play. Sooner, later, at 15, 16, 20 ... he is good enough, he should be part of the [Flamengo] team."
Flamengo legend Zico, who has experience coaching other gifted youngsters over the years, said that those overseeing his career must be careful not to place too much pressure on Vinicius' young shoulders.
"You must be careful with him as the huge expectations could affect him," Zico said. "He is 16 years old, everyone is pressuring him, saying he should play the games... if he is feeling good, and fit, then OK, but you must keep calm and not expect him to do the same as with the under-20 team.
"You must not pressure him. I had players who came up to first team too quickly and were not able to control it -- Rafinha, Thomas, Lorran, Muralha and Adryan were some of those who were lost that way. You must be clever and be very careful."
Bebeto, a 1994 World Cup winner with Brazil, said that he knew the youngster personally, and was confident that he had a "good head" and would develop within a supportive family environment.
"He must go forward calmly, he is just 16," Bebeto said. "I began to play as a professional at that age. I know Vinicius, he is a very good kid, relaxed, with a good head. He is a very quick and clever player, knows where the goal is. He has everything to be a great player, but we must keep calm. If the kid did not have a family around him it would be more difficult, but he has a very good head."
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