Real Madrid's Brazilian wonderkid Vinicius Junior has mainly made headlines for his great performances so far, but he has now made a bold statement about Lionel Messi off the pitch.
The 18-year-old, who started the season playing for Real's Castilla side, is experiencing a great breakthrough campaign at Los Blancos.
Since Santiago Solari took charge of the senior team from Julen Lopetegui, Vinicius has become a regular starter, with the likes of Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio being left on the bench.
Ahead of the upcoming double El Clasico, he has demonstrated his confidence by insisting FC Barcelona superstar Messi "doesn't scare anyone".
"Messi is always like this," Vinicius said after the Argentine's hat-trick against Sevilla, as quoted by Cadena SER.
"He is an incredible player but he does not scare anyone. We are ready to face him. We also have the best players in the world."
Real Madrid host bitter rivals Barcelona twice in the space of just four days, with Los Blancos first facing the Blaugrana in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final – the first leg ended 1-1 – on Wednesday night before welcoming them again at the Santiago Bernabeu for a LaLiga fixture on Saturday.
"El Clasico is always a beautiful game, always the best game to play in," Vinicius added.
"We are ready for what is coming and to win, they are two very important games and we have them all in one week."
The Brazilian youngster has made 25 senior appearances across all competitions for Real so far this season, scoring three goals and assisting another 12 strikes.
Read our exclusive El Clasico preview, in which former Real defender Fernando Sanz talks about Vinicius, Messi and Bale's toxic situation in Madrid, and ex-Barca winger Gaizka Mendieta also previews the massive clashes, in this week's Soccer Laduma, issue 1112.