AC Milan midfielder Lucas Paqueta is refusing to get overwhelmed by the burden associated with wearing the iconic no.10 Brazil jersey.
The Selecao will be in action on Saturday in a friendly against Panama in Porto, where Paqueta will don the famous no.10 jersey for the first time in his career in light of Neymar’s injury.
The decision to allow Paqueta to be handed Brazil’s most famous jersey has raised quite a few eyebrows as the 21-year-old only has two caps to his name after debuting in friendlies against the United States and El Salvador in September.
Despite the great expectations that come from wearing the nation’s most prestigious shirt, however, Paqueta is refusing to get carried away.
“Wearing the 10 shirt of Brazil will be a sensation that I will have for the first time,” said Paqueta, according to Yahoo.
“I know my responsibility. I hope to help the team. Ronaldinho, Pele, Zico. So many players have already worn this shirt. Today I have the opportunity and I hope to do my best to meet those expectations.
“The 10 shirt has a big weight. But the Brazil shirt has its weight. They are five stars. No matter the number.”
The Brazilian completed a €35m transfer from Flamengo to Milan in January and has impressed observers with his quick adaption to Italian football.
Paqueta has already made 13 appearances for Milan in all competitions and seems set to play a key role in their chase for a top-four finish in the Serie A and a return to the Champions League following a five-year absence.
“This is a very good time for me,” said Paqueta.
“Of course I still have to adapt, improve. I’m happy to be part of this evolution of the team. Milan gave me full support and prepared me for this moment. I always want to be playing and I come here 100 per cent to help and give my best.
“The tactics of Brazil and Milan are similar. In Milan, I play by the left wing, the position I like. Here are great players, and Tite gives me the freedom to play.”
The Brazil and Panama match will begin at 18:00 (CET) before Tite’s side head over to the Czech Republic for another friendly on Tuesday.