An emotional Vinicius Junior said it is not him who will decide whether he remains at Flamengo for another year or leaves for Real Madrid.
With the Campeonato Brasileiro going on a month-long break during the World Cup, Vinicius was in tears as he mingled with fans after playing what could be his final match for Flamengo at the Maracana on Sunday – a 2-0 win over Parana.
He made his debut for the Rio de Janeiro giants aged 16 in May 2017 and later that month was signed by Madrid for a reported €45million, the terms of the deal stating he would join this July unless both clubs agreed otherwise.
Vinicius still does not know where he will spend the upcoming year, though he expects clarity this week.
“Flamengo is the club that always helped me, took me out of Sao Goncalo and gave me a better life, took care of me. I just have to thank everyone who has helped me since I got to Flamengo,” said the 17-year-old, who was the subject of “Stay Vinicius” chants during the match.
“[Flamengo director of football Carlos] Noval is asking for me to stay a lot, but it is not me who will decide.
“It’s a difficult moment. I’m where I’ve always dreamed of. I could be saying goodbye to the greatest fans in the world, alongside my family, friends and everyone present.
“I did not expect to make my professional debut so soon and at 17 be able to leave and play for Real Madrid.
“It’s not yet defined [when I will go], but in the next few days it will be and I’ll let you know.
“Flamengo, Real Madrid and my representatives are going to decide.”
Vinicius has made a total of 68 appearances for Flamengo and scored 14 goals.
The match against Parana provided a definite farewell for Felipe Vizeu, who will leave for Udinese at the end of the month.