Vitinha: From faltering form and Lionel Messi clash to PSG’s key performer

Vitinha (24) alongside Fabián Ruiz (28) entered Paris Saint-Germain in the Summer of 2022 as the unwitting symbols of a new era, a signing that represented a new future for the club focused less on the pursuit of Galactico-style names and more on group composition. 

These were highly talented players but they were not the marquee signings that normally decorate the Parc des Princes. Vitinha in particular, 22 at the time, looked more like a purchase for the future. A player that could grow and develop in the capital rather than be stifled by the usual demands of immediate results. 

Vitinha struggled in his first season at the club, where according to L’Équipe, the former Porto and Wolverhampton Wanderers player had a complicated time in the locker room. The midfielder’s relationship in particular with Lionel Messi (36) and those close to him in the team deteriorated following a heavy tackle on the Argentine. 

He was reportedly the target of Neymar’s (32) outburst after a 3-1 loss to Monaco, with the Brazilian voicing the complaints of several senior players in the squad unhappy with the club’s direction, believing that the squad had been significantly weakened with the arrival of players like Vitinha. 

Troubled form for new man Vitinha 

These incidents took a toll on the midfielder and his performances from the second half of the season were often a far cry from an impressive start to the campaign. Despite the ire and consternations of the senior players, PSG kept to their path, and last summer saw Messi and Neymar depart the club. 

Today the Portuguese midfielder is a popular element in the dressing room. His grasp of multiple languages means that he has been a positive influence that has helped multiple factions of the club. And his performances under Luis Enrique, who has put his trust fully in the player, have shown the results that can come with a model built on a bigger picture rather than a bigger name. 

For the first time in two seasons, PSG will contest a Champions League quarter-final, while their form in the league has seen the club only lose once all season and record a dominant 10-point gap between them and second, with only six games remaining. 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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