Mumbai: Brazil U-17 football star Vinicius Junior will not be travelling to India to participate in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which is slated to start from October 6, it was confirmed on Saturday.
“It is confirmed Vinicius Junior will not travel to India for the U-17 World Cup,” Gregório Fernandes, the team media officer confirmed.
Vinicius who plays for Brazilian club Flamengo is considered to be a future star of the Brazil national team. He was snapped up by top European club Real Madrid for €45 million, making him the second most expensive signing of the Brazilian League after Neymar.
According to ESPN, the 17-year-old forward has not been released by Flamengo for international duty after the team’s loss to Cruzeiro in the Copa do Brasil final, on Thursday.
Flamengo manager Reinaldo Rueda was quoted by Hindustan Times saying, “It was a situation analysed by the board, with the coaches and with Vinicius,” he said. “We want the best for him. He’s a conscientious, smart player, important for the national team.”
“But he has not taken part in the weeks of preparation. He knows that he can come and help, but also wants to respect that. He knows that the national team has good players and he will stay with us. We hope the national team has success in the World Cup,” he added.
It is also reported that the player had an agreement with Flamengo that he will not travel to India if the club fails to win the final.
The star teenager has made a total of 22 appearances for the Brazil Under-17s, scoring 19 goals. He was also named the player of the tournament in the South American Under-17 Championship, where he helped the nation win the tournament scoring seven goals. He finished as the tournament’s highest goal scorer.
However, the presence of the wonderkid in the squad will be gravely missed by the Brazil U-17 team as they aim for their fourth title. It will be a great loss for the World Cup itself as it will not have the chance of witnessing one of the best young talents in world football.
Showing his disappointment, Brazil Football national team co-ordinator Edu Gaspar, told globoesporte.com, “I told the board of directors of Flamengo that I don’t agree with their decision and I am deeply disappointed.”
Brazil is placed in Group D along with Spain, Niger and North Korea and will play their group matches in Kochi.