Vinicius Jr.: I dream of going to the 2018 World Cup with Brazil
Brazilian sensation Vinicius Jr. says he dreams of making the 2018 World Cup squad, as he prepares to move to Real Madrid next summer.
The 17-year-old Flamengo forward, who has agreed a €45 million deal to sign for Madrid in July, helped his club win the Copa Guanabara two days ago. And he has been listening to the advice of a Brazil legend about his future.
"I dream of going [to the World Cup]," he told Globo. "Recently I spoke with Ronaldinho and he told me that they always take a young player. He told me to always remain focused. So that if the opportunity presents itself, I would be prepared. I keep this in my thoughts, you know, because he is Ronaldinho.
"I have always admired him a lot. He is the idol of all of us who love football. I have the dream of one day wearing the shirt of Brazil's Selecao. I don't know whether that will be this year or next, but I am evolving every day with Flamengo so that I can reach the moment when I can represent Brazil."
Reports in the media have questioned whether Flamengo should take steps to ensure he is not injured before his transfer to Real Madrid, but Vinicius Junior believes it is all part of the game.
"I am used to [comments like this,]" he said. "And physical contact is part of this game. You get hit. Defenders must play too. But I am not bothered by this. I always try to get out of the way of my adversary's body so I don't get all bruised up."
Real Madrid have had plenty of Brazilian players in the past, but Vinicius says he has not been in regular contact with his new teammates yet.
"No, I don't speak much with anyone from the club," he said. "The ones who send me messages are Marcelo and Casemiro. Mostly to congratulate me and tell me how things are over there."
With Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid facing off in the Champions League, Vinicius admits he has mixed feelings over the game, but is backing his future club.
"I am a huge fan of Neymar, but I am rooting for Real Madrid. I am a fan of Marcelo and of everyone who has always been helping me off the field and giving me advice. I am always rooting for them."
Asked whether he feels any pressure with Flamengo for the rest of the season, he replied: "I am very calm. Paulo Carpegiani has already told us that we are a group. We are not just 11. Sadly, only 11 can be on the field, and any one of the players has the ability to play and decide the match. That has happened to me in previous matches.
"I just want to grow every day and help Flamengo win. Flamengo have stuck by me since I was 10. They know when is the right time to play me. I am here to help them and to grow with each moment."
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