The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, hosted by India, is three months away, but the prestigious tournament has already taken a hit. One of the most talented young stars, Vinicius Junior from Brazil, may not even feature in the biennial youth tournament.
Speaking on the sidelines of the official draw, Brazil U-17 coach Carlos Amadeu expressed doubts about the 16-year-old's participation.
"The situation with Vinicius is unclear at the moment. We should wait for the release from his club. We have to wait and watch whether he is coming with the Brazilian team or not," Amadeu said in an interview with Firstpost.
Vinicius recently made headlines when Real Madrid splurged a whopping €46 million (£39.6 million) to sign him from Brazil's Flamengo, in a deal which will make him the second most expensive signing from the Brazilian league in history after Neymar Jr, who cost Barcelona an estimated €86 million in 2013.
The teen has played once for Flamengo — a league appearance against Atletico Mineiro.
Barcelona were also said to be interested in signing Vinicius, but were beaten to his signature by Madrid's mega offer.
When questioned if his unavailability for the national team was due to his new club Real Madrid, the Brazil coach outright denied it.
"He is a Flamengo player right now and it's the Brazilian club that will make the confirmation. Real Madrid do not have the rights this year," said Amadeu.
The coach further added that the national team could demand that the player be released for national duty, but declined to confirm if they had communicated with his Brazilian club.
"We can (demand the player to be released) but we should wait for the confirmation from the club because it's a period where the pro-team tournament is going to take place at the same time, so it should be agreed with the club. It's not an easy process," he said.
Brazil were drawn along with North Korea, Spain and tournament debutants Niger in Group D of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday. The Group D matches will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
The U-17 World Cup will be held for the first time in India from 6 to 28 October. A total of 24 teams will take part in the youth showpiece to be hosted by six cities across the country.
Hosts India were clubbed with the United States of America, Colombia and Ghana in Group A.
Updated Date: Sep 28, 2017 16:08 PM