Substitute Rodrygo set up Casemiro’s late goal in their 1-0 victory over the Swiss, which came after a 2-0 win over Serbia in their World Cup opener. Brazil have already qualified for the Round of 16 ahead of Friday’s final Group G match against Cameroon, and coach Tite is expected to make changes, with Neymar still recovering from an ankle injury sustained in their first match.
Casemiro believes Rodrygo, a Real Madrid player, has the potential to be Brazil’s next big star. Even with Neymar out and Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho left out of the squad, the five-time World Cup champions have an embarrassment of riches in the attacking department.
“We’ve seen him play as a false nine, a 10, the ‘Neymar’ of Real Madrid, with the ability to play on the left and right,” said Matheus Bachi, a Brazilian assistant coach (and Tite’s son). Rodrygo’s versatility was evident this season, when Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti began using him in the centre of the attack alongside striker Karim Benzema, rather than on the flanks.
Neymar used to play on the left before being moved to a more central position, and Jair Ventura, who gave Rodrygo his Santos debut in 2017, decided in 2017 to develop his abilities “on the right, in the center, and as a false nine,” he told ESPN in 2019. He’s very intelligent; you explain something to him once and he understands it right away “said Ventura, the son of former player Jairzinho, who won the World Cup with Pele in 1970.
I’ve already worn the No. 10 jersey in the junior ranks, but it’s only recently that [senior] coaches have begun to put me there “Rodrygo recently stated.