Brazil boss Tite revealed that Neymar’s “perfect” body language meant Vinicius Junior was denied his long-awaited international debut
Following a stunning debut campaign for Real Madrid, Brazil supporters eagerly waited for Tite to promote Vinicius to the senior team to see him line-up alongside Neymar for the South American giants.
They had already seen the youngster star at youth level, with Vinicius even bagging 17 goals in just 19 outings for the U-17s.
After an injury prevented Vinicius from making his Brazil debut in March, however, Tite finally called him up again for this month.
The 19-year-old, who is without doubt one of Selecao’s greatest young prospects, hoped to feature on Saturday’s friendly with Colombia. However, Tite gave Neymar the nod to start ahead of the Real star.
While the coach planned to put on Vinicius, though, he opted to give Neymar the full 90 minutes for the sake of his fitness.
“Vinicius was ready to enter,” Tite admitted to reporters after Brazil’s 2-2 draw.
“The idea was to for him to come on, but circumstances change.
“He will have his chance. Of course, he will be used as a left winger. Playing in the national team is already complicated, the yellow shirt weighs on anyone.
“So, in the case of Vinicius, I will put him in his natural position, where he is accustomed and feels comfortable.
“The plan was not that Neymar played 90 minutes, he came from more than three months without playing, and I was about to take him off three times during the second half, but he was improving technically and physically as the minutes passed.
“I was talking with Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar and our physio during the match and we decided to leave him on the pitch.
“I don’t think he expected me to play him for 90 minutes, I saw him look at the bench a couple of times, but his body language was perfect, he was not tired and there was no point in taking him out.
“The level of the game was so high and I saw the team at such a good pace that I didn’t want to make any more changes.”
Neymar, who set-up Casemiro for Brazil’s opener, scored the nation’s second goal to salvage a 2-2 draw in Miami.