Brazil manager Tite says Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior is still in the frame for the Selecao’s Copa America squad, despite missing out on a debut through injury.
Vinicius received his maiden call-up ahead of the ongoing international break, but suffered an ankle injury during the first half of Madrid’s shock 4-1 Champions League defeat to Ajax earlier this month. The 18-year-old is expected to miss at least two months.
Depending on when he returns, Vinicius may make his debut only in the last round of preparation games before this summer’s tournament, where Brazil are hosts, or perhaps during the Copa America itself.
But after seeing his side deliver a lacklustre display during a 1-1 draw against Panama on Saturday, in a game where star player Neymar was also missing through injury, Tite said his side’s performance showed they were missing the thrust and skill a player like Vinicius can bring.
“Vinicius has qualities that we were missing to change the result of this game,” Tite said after the result.
The youngster has enjoyed a stellar debut season for Madrid, after joining the club from Flamengo last summer to complete a move that had initially been agreed in 2017.
In what has been a difficult season for Los Blancos, Vinicius has been a rare bright spark, often looking like the team’s best player and generally unfazed by the harsh spotlight that can shine on the Santiago Bernabeu.
It is that form that earned him his maiden national team call-up, and what marks him out as a player of promise for both club and country.
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