Brazil have announced AC Milan midfielder Lucas Paqueta has been handed the No. 10 shirt with regular holder Neymar still missing due to injury.
The South American side host Panama on Saturday in Brazil before travelling to Europe to challenge the Czech Republic three days later.
Who is Lucas Paqueta? Five things to know…
- Age: 21 (27/08/1997)
- Position(s): Centre-midfield
- Senior career path: Flamengo, AC Milan
- Total senior appearances: 108
- Key fact: Was awarded the Bola de Ouro (Golden Ball) by Brazilian sports magazine, Placar, for the best player in the Brazilian Serie A in 2018.
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar was unable to return from his foot injury in time to participate in Brazil’s friendly matches across the next week. With Brazil’s usual No.10 absent, manager Tite has decided to give new Milan midfielder Paqueta the opportunity to impress with the weight of the famous number on his back.
Paqueta spoke to reporters regarding the announcement, stating that he was honoured to be given the number 10 jersey, following in a long line of Brazilian legends who have strut their stuff in the past.
He told reporters: “Wearing the 10 shirt of Brazil will be a sensation that I will have for the first time.
“I know my responsibility. I hope to help the team. Ronaldinho, Pele, Zico. So many players have already worn this shirt. Today I have the opportunity and I hope to do my best to meet those expectations.
“The 10 shirt has a big weight. But the Brazil shirt has its weight. They are five stars. No matter the number.”
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Paqueta went on to speak about his move to Milan and the impact it can have on his international career.
He added: “This is a very good time for me. Of course I still have to adapt, improve.
“I’m happy to be part of this evolution of the team. Milan gave me full support and prepared me for this moment. I always want to be playing and I come here 100 per cent to help and give my best.
“The tactics of Brazil and Milan are similar. In Milan, I play by the left wing, the position I like. Here are great players, and Tite gives me the freedom to play.”
The Brazil squad in full
Following their disappointing World Cup – where a quarter-final defeat against Belgium saw the Brazilian’s crash out of the competition earlier than most expected – Tite will now look to reignite the Seleção‘s dominance in international football, starting with friendlies against both Panama and the Czech Republic.
There are some Premier League representatives – more than any other division – who will be doing their utmost towards the Brazilian cause, with the likes of Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Fabinho, Ederson, Gabriel Jesus and Danilo all called up.
West Ham United star Felipe Anderson’s form has seen him get his second call-up to the senior squad while Everton’s Richarlison is slowly becoming a permanent fixture.
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Weverton.
Defenders: Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Danilo, Eder Militao, Filipe Luis, Marquinhos, Miranda, Thiago Silva.
Midfielders: Allan, Arthur, Casemiro, Fabinho, Felipe Anderson, Lucas Paqueta, Philippe Coutinho.
Forwards: Everton, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, Vinicius Junior.