Vinicius Junior criticizes CONMEBOL over Copa America: 'It's always really difficult'


Vinicius Junior says the Copa America is “always really difficult” because of the way he feels players are treated by tournament organisers CONMEBOL.

The Real Madrid forward was speaking after starring for Brazil in their 4-1 win over Paraguay at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday night. Vinicius Jr, 23, scored twice — his first goals at the world’s oldest international tournament — to put the nine-time winners in a strong position to qualify for the knockout phase.

Speaking after the game, however, he raised issues he has over playing in the competition, with the small fields — which have been a high-profile topic of discussion so far in the United States where the tournament is being held — and officiating particularly concerning to him.

“The Copa America is always tricky due to the pitches, the referees and the way CONMEBOL treats us. It’s always really difficult,” Vinicius Jr said in an interview on the field.

“We have to keep working because we can only talk about it when we win. Whenever we speak up, CONMEBOL tells us we’re talking too much. That’s the truth.”

CONMEBOL has been approached for comment.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Brazil 4-1 Paraguay takeaways: Vinicius Jr at the double, Paqueta’s penalty redemption

Vinicius Jr was the key behind a much-improved performance for Brazil after a frustrating opening to the tournament against Costa Rica on Monday. As well as his goals, he was a constant threat, with Savio and Lucas Paqueta also on the scoresheet.

“Vinicius practically played a perfect game, created dangerous passages of play, and was always really dynamic and direct,” head coach Dorival Junior said afterwards.

“Everything that we want from these players who posses that individual quality.”

Brazil are next in action against Colombia on Tuesday where a win or a draw will see them through to the quarterfinals.

“I always say that I never play for myself. I always play for my team, and when I’m with Brazil, I play for my country,” Vinicius Jr added.

“I try to produce my best but it’s not always possible. Today, I was able to put in a great performance, one that was at my proper level.

“I know that I can still improve a lot. I can help this team, help put Brazil where it belongs. We’re going to work hard to achieve that goal and the first step is winning the Copa America.”

(Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)



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