RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Vinicius Junior, the latest soccer sensation from Brazil, joined up with the Flamengo first team squad for the first time on Thursday ahead of an expected big-money move to Real Madrid.
The 16-year old striker has caught the eye of European scouts with his pace, vision and fearless ability to take on players in the last third of the field.
Media reports in Spain and Brazil suggest he is close to signing a multi-million dollar deal with the Spanish giants.
However, the tricky forward and long-time Flamengo fan has yet to play a first-team match for the Rio club.
He was only promoted to the first-team squad after a series of outstanding performances for Brazil’s under-17 side in the South American championships in Chile in March.
Vinicius Junior led the under-17s to a 12th South American title with seven goals in a talismanic role worth as much as the top scorer and player of the tournament awards he gathered.
He is expected to lead Brazil in India in October where they will seek their fourth under-17 world title.
Before that, he may get his first-team debut with Flamengo, who kick off their Serie A campaign against Atletico Mineiro on Saturday at the Maracana stadium.
Editing by Ken Ferris