Brazil's bid for its fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup title was jolted on Saturday after it became apparent that one of its biggest stars, Vinicius Junior, would miss the showpiece event after not being released by his club Flamengo, according to reports.
The 17-year-old wonderkid, who Real Madrid purchased in the summer for a whopping €46 million but remains on loan at the Rio de Janeiro-based club, was to join the Brazil team on Saturday in Mumbai.
If reports in Brazil are to be believed, the Brazil football federation (CBF) and Flamengo had an agreement and the player also had a visa to travel to India. However, the club decided after their defeat in the Copa do Brasil final to Cruzeiro that they would not release the player for international duty, according to ESPN. Flamengo lost the final in a controversial penalty shootout on Wednesday night.
In fact, in an interview with Firstpost back in July, coach Carlos Amadeu had expressed doubts about the footballer’s participation at the World Cup.
"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 had said on the sidelines of the World Cup draw in Mumbai.
He also added that the process of getting Vinicius to play was not easy and clarified that Spanish giants Real Madrid did not have anything to do with the player’s participation at the event.
"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. 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 had added.
Coach Amadeu's Brazil beat New Zealand 2-1 in a training match on Thursday at the Mumbai Football Arena ahead of the World Cup where they are placed in Group D, alongside Spain, North Korea and tournament debutants Niger.
The South American giants begin their campaign in Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on 7 October with a clash against European heavyweights Spain.
Not just the Brazil side, the World Cup itself will be dealt a blow by the absence of Vinicius as he was among the biggest names in the tournament.
Updated Date: Sep 30, 2017 09:26 AM