Probable replacement for Neymar, Rodrygo enchanted Tite before Vini Jr

Vini Jr is a member of the Brazilian national team and one of the main soccer players in the world. This is not up for debate. However, Rodrygo, his Real Madrid teammate and likely substitute for the injured Neymar for the match against Switzerland, tomorrow (28), already charmed coach Tite even before the ‘malvadeza’.

Until the beginning of 2020, the commander of the Brazilian team saw in Rodrygo a more complete and extremely mature player for his then 18 years, both in decision-making and in the tactical aspect.

At the time, Vini and Rodrygo were disputing a position in the Brazilian national team. Today times are different: Vini is the owner of the left wing, while Rodrygo is the most versatile in the attack and can play in all four roles, but he was summoned by Tite exactly for the role of Neymar.

‘Malvadeza’ may not have the versatility of ‘Rayo’, but admittedly he has evolved too much tactically – formerly a fear of Tite in the national team. Vini’s performances at Real and his tactical role, going down to close the scoring for his sector, proved to the coach of Brazil in the 2022 Qatar Cup that he was ready – so much so that Tite ‘found a way’ to assemble the selection with the striker for the debut against Serbia.

In the 2019/20 season, Vini Jr – who had arrived in Spain a year earlier – featured more often for Real Madrid, but it was Rodrygo who scored the most goals. There were 38 games for Vini, eight goals and five assists, while ‘Rayo’ played 26 times, scored seven and provided three assists.

Since then, the two have evolved and established themselves in the Meringue team. Vini Jr became an absolute starter and the team’s highlight, scored the goal for the Liga dos Campões title and was the best Brazilian in this year’s Golden Ball award, taking eighth place.

Except that the Champions League final was only reached by Real Madrid because of Rodrygo’s star and decision-making power. In the quarter-finals, he came off the bench to take the game against Chelsea into extra time; in the semis, he repeated the dose when he came off the bench and turned the game against Manchester City, with goals in the 90th and 91st minutes, forcing a new extension.

Last season, Vini started 47 games for Real, while Rodrygo started 25 matches, but started in another 24. This season, the former Menino da Vila won the starting line-up and has already started 15 matches against 20 for the former Flamengo player.

If before Tite said that Rodrygo “was for real”, today he knows that the two current winners of the Champions League have the football to command Brazil in the World Cup in Qatar in the absence of Neymar.

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