When Lionel Messi left the Spanish top-flight this past summer, there has to have been a sharp intake of breath at La Liga’s offices.
The league’s biggest draw had, by virtue of the fact that Barcelona couldn’t afford him, moved on to Ligue Un and a new adventure with Paris Saint-Germain.
Coming a few seasons after Cristiano Ronaldo had left for Italy, it meant that Spanish football had now lost both of their big box office stars.
However, the perceived demise of La Liga’s brand as a result hasn’t yet come to pass, and that’s largely thanks to Real Madrid’s attacking duo.
Karim Benzema was always a high quality exponent, but the Frenchman has really shone since the Portuguese left the Santiago Bernabeu.
It’s taken a while for Vinicius to begin to fulfil his evident promise, and now the young Brazilian can consider himself a certain starter alongside Benzema.
Both were on the score sheet again late on against Valencia, turning an expected defeat into a win that keeps Los Blancos at the top of the table.
Benzema’s goal was his fifth in six domestic games per transfermarkt, with Vinicius weighing in with another five as well as two assists.
They’ve taken on the mantle that was once the preserve of their contemporaries, and it’s a responsibility that clearly sits well on their shoulders.