Real Madrid duo Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo failed to live up to expectations as Brazil went down 2-1 to Morocco in their first post-World Cup friendly yesterday.
Goals from Sofiane Boufal and Abdelhamid Sabiri rendered Casemiro’s strike meaningless as the 2022 World Cup surprise package toppled the Selecao in Tanger.
Caretaker manager Ramon Menezes tried to shuffle the pack following an underwhelming Qatar showpiece, but the gamble didn’t pay off as the CONMEBOL powerhouse struggled without headline performer Neymar.
In the absence of the Paris Saint-Germain superstar, Brazil relied on Vinicius and Rodrygo to lead the line, yet the Madrid star tandem flopped at the Stade Ibn Batouta.
As spotted by Spanish outlet Sport, neither of the two Los Blancos’ heavy hitters managed to fill Neymar’s shoes, with the emphasis on Vinicius’ lacklustre showing.
Tipped for greatness not only on the club but international level, the 22-year-old has been one of the best-performing wingers in Europe’s top-five leagues over the past couple of years.
While enjoying a rise to stardom at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the ex-Flamengo starlet has excelled underpinning Carlo Ancelotti’s talisman Karim Benzema.
However, Vinicius was supposed to embrace the leading role sooner or later, with the chance popping up on Saturday as Neymar had to watch from the sidelines after being ruled out with a long-term ankle problem.
An exhibition match in Tanger seemed a perfect opportunity for the quicksilver forward to showcase his leadership qualities and keep the Brazil frontline tick over without the PSG ace.
Unfortunately for Vinicius and Menezes’ understrength squad, nothing went their way in Morocco, with clear-cut chances missing out for most of the night.
It wasn’t just Vinicius’ fault, as his Madrid teammate Rodrygo came nowhere near the high standards required to don a legendary number 10 jersey.
The coveted number worn by Neymar achieved immortality after the death of Brazil icon Pele, and the former Santos man tainted its image with a sub-par performance.
Rodrygo came close to drawing Menezes’ side level on the stroke of half-time, but Sevilla goalkeeper Bono pulled off a massive save to thwart his attempt, which proved his only contribution to the game.
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