Flamengo phenom Vinicius Junior has undermined Real Madrid's plans of including him in the squad for next season, telling reporters he does not want to join the La Liga giants during the summer.
Per AS' Amalia Fra, Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane was planning on including the tricky forward in the team next season, but the 17-year-old has now said rumours of a summer switch are premature, and he would rather stay in Brazil for the time being.
"Nothing has been decided yet, and I've only been on holiday for three days, so my plan is to start thinking about the future in the new year," he said. "I plan to stay here through to the end of 2018 and after I win the Libertadores, then it'll be time to move to another club."
Real signed the teenager in May for €45 million, per the report, when Vinicius barely had any experience playing against adult competition.
It's been unclear when he will make the move to Europe ever since, with most believing he will join in the summer of 2018―he turns 18 in July.
Vinicius enjoyed a solid season for Flamengo, who finished Serie A in sixth place―meaning they qualified for next year's Copa Libertadores. In this year's tournament, they failed to make it out of the group stage.
While he didn't register a lot of goals, Vinicius' dribbling ability, athleticism and vision were on full display. Here's a look at some of his highlights:
There's a considerable amount of hype surrounding the Brazilian, who finds himself in a relatively similar position to Martin Odegaard. The Norwegian was also a highly touted prospect, but he was much cheaper than Vinicius, who ranks among the club's 10 most expensive signings of all time.
Odegaard struggled when he joined Madrid as a 16-year-old, and it wasn't until he moved to the Netherlands on loan that things finally started to change. Last year's campaign was another disappointing one, but the 2017-18 season with Heerenveen has been a good one for the winger, who has returned to form.
For Vinicius, the former Stromsgodset man should be something of a cautionary tale. Odegaard was a tremendous talent with huge upside who left a team where he played regularly for arguably the most competitive environment in the sport.
His development slowed as a result, and while Odegaard still has plenty of time to come good, he probably would have been better off if he had stayed in Norway for a little longer or gone on loan to a club where he was guaranteed playing time.
Vicinius can only benefit from another season―or perhaps two―in Brazil, where he will play regular minutes against some of the best competition found outside of Europe. His big price tag will have Real anxious to bring him over, but for all parties involved, patience is a virtue.