MADRID (Reuters) – Brazilian teenager Vinicius Jr. has been called into the Real Madrid squad for Saturday’s La Liga game at home to Espanyol, taking the youngster closer to his debut for the European champions following his move from Flamengo.
Vinicius, 18, has not been called into the first team squad for a game since he moved to Spain in the close season, a year after completing his 40-million-euro ($47 million) transfer. He has instead been playing for Real’s reserve side Real Madrid Castilla in the third tier of Spanish soccer.
Vinicius may not make the substitutes bench at the Santiago Bernabeu against Espanyol, however, as Real coach Julen Lopetegui named a 20-man team and can only select 18 players in his squad on the day of the game.
Real are second in the La Liga standings, on 10 points after drawing 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao last week, while champions Barcelona are top with 12.
The Brazilian has scored three goals in three appearances for the reserve side. However, his participation has angered some in the division, such as Cultural Leonesa president Felipe Llamazares, who claimed the fact that Vinicius can play for both Real’s first team and Castilla “distorts the competition”.
($1 = 0.8519 euros)
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)