In the past few days, we’ve been talking about the great rise of Gabriel Jesus in the Brazilian national team. With a little more than one year since his debut, h’s put together hugely impressive stats and will certainly be the team’s number nine at the World Cup.
But that also means he’s taking someone else’s spot, and that’s Roberto Firmino. The Liverpool player hasn’t been able to compete with Jesus, and is only having chances when the Manchester City star is unavailable.
With only one goal in six appearances in the World Cup qualifiers, Firmino is far from impressing, having also missed a sitter against Chile on Tuesday night.
And it seems things could get even worse for him.
As reported by Brazilian journalist Cosme Rímoli on Wednesday, manager Tite still has the dream to test a youngster for the spot, which is Flamengo’s Vinicius Junior.
Sold to Real Madrid this summer in a deal said to be worth as much as €45m, the 17-year-old is still playing for Flamengo, where he will stay until 2019.
The problem is that the wonderkid has been mostly sitting on the bench and having few minutes on the pitch, so Tite hasn’t been able to have the right arguments to call him up to the national team.
If he manages to call him up, Tite would like to do something similar to what happened with Brazilian youngsters who made it to the World Cup squad and later won a Ballon d’Or, like Ronaldo in 1994 and Kaka in 2002.
There are a few friendlies before the World Cup list comes out, and Firmino needs to make sure he impresses the manager before that. Otherwise, a teenager would be happy to take his place.
Whilst playing well for Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool can’t do any harm, Tite and the Brazilian public want more from Firmino when he’s on international duty.
Firmino doesn’t exactly have a lot of love going his way in Brazil, and recently we covered claims from a Brazilian pundit that former Manchester City forward Jo would be a better bet.