FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil arrive in quest to regain old glory
Brazil, three-time winners of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, started their preparatory camp for the 2017 edition on Tuesday. They have in their ranks Vinicius Junior, who has been signed by Real MadridUpdated: Sep 27, 2017 09:11 IST
At 17, Vinicius Junior has been described as an extraordinary talent by his coaches at Flamengo. His performance at the 2017 South American Under-17 Championship convinced Real Madrid to splash €46 million to acquire his services. And his giant leap is also inspiring his teammates to follow his footsteps.
The Brazil team arrived in Mumbai for their preparatory camp on Tuesday morning, before they head to Kochi for their group encounters of the Under-17 Fifa World Cup, without their star attraction.
According to Brazil team officials, Vinicius will play the second leg of the Brazil Cup final against Cruzeiro on Wednesday before arriving in Mumbai on Saturday.
In Mumbai, the Brazil team got down to business straightaway as they trained for more than two hours at the Andheri Sports Complex.
While the players were all focussed on the championship, which Brazil haven’t won since 2003, they also feel that a good outing in the Under-17 World Cup will help them realise their dream of playing for top clubs in Europe, following in the footsteps of Vinicius.
“He (Vinicius) is a really a great player and has huge quality. He is an example for us and we have to look at him and one day, who knows, we can be at the same club,” said centre-back Matheus Stockl, who plays for Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro.
He added: “At the same time, facing players like Vinicius during training helps us improve our football.”
First choice goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao, who plays for Cruzeiro, also dreams of playing abroad. “My focus is totally on the national team and the World Cup at the moment. Whatever comes after the World Cup will negotiate and think about it,” he said.
Both of them agree that the World Cup will play a crucial role as they take steps to secure their professional future.
While Vinicius Junior has taken the big leap there are others in the Selecao squad, who are touted to take the big step sooner rather than later.
Alan, who plays for Palmeiras, and Paulinho, of Vasco da Gama and among the big names in the Brazilian junior squad and both played an equally important role in Brazil winning the 2017 South American championship.
Paulinho, a centre-forward, has been courted by many European clubs while midfielder Alan was on the radar of Inter Milan earlier in the season, which prompted his Sao Paulo-based club to add a €50 million buy-out clause in his contract. He has also attracted interest from Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, the evening training session was as intense as it could get with coach Carlos Amadeu directing his players to focus on positional play and keep the ball moving.
And, yes, there were no signs of players dribbling, a trait associated with South American teams, with most of them sticking to instruction given by the coach.
TRAVELLING WITH OWN CHEF
To make sure that the players don’t miss home-cooked food during their almost month-long stay in India, the Brazilian team has brought their own chef, who will take care of their dietary needs.
“Yes, we are travelling with a chef. We get all the stuff (ingredients) in India so we have got any from Brazil,” a team official told Hindustan Times.
Including the chef and the media officer, Brazil have a 17-member support staff to make sure that team in well-looked after as they chase the world title.
First Published: Sep 27, 2017 09:11 IST