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Why the international break has arrived at the perfect time for Neymar and Vinicius Junior

13:18 BST 04/09/2019
Neymar Vinicius Junior PSG Real Madrid
The Brasil Global Tour double-header this week offers the star duo to find their stride after tricky starts to the season for their respective clubs

One of the most consistent criticisms directed at national team players is that they are unable match their club performances when they line up for their country.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi was once the poster boy for the theory, despite the fact that his national team were nowhere near Barcelona on both a technical or administrative level.

No shortage of Brazilian players have faced the accusation over the years, but this month the international break could not have arrived a better time for two superstars of the modern game hoping to get their club careers back track: Neymar and Vinicius Junior.

The duo are in Miami this week for the first of a Brasil Global Tour double-header, where they will meet Colombia on Friday before heading to Los Angeles to take on Peru.

Neither have arrived in scintillating form off the back of the new European season, though for very different reasons. Regardless, this week provides a breath of fresh air for both, and a chance to build some early momentum before the domestic season gets into its stride.

Neymar was the talk of the summer before the European transfer window slammed shut on Monday night, with endless speculation linking him with a return to his former club, Barcelona.

But the window came and went, and Neymar stayed put in France. After being left out of the squad for the first weeks of the new campaign, he will return focused on leading PSG to more glory.

After missing all five of his club’s games as the season got underway, Neymar is back with the Selecao after missing out on this past summer’s Copa America through injury.

This week, he is focused on returning to a side that evolved in its absence as coach Tite grabbed the first title of his time with the national team.

A productive week in USA will help Neymar both physically, as he aims to find his stride after a summer of inactivity, and emotionally, as he puts the speculation behind him and returns his focus to what’s happening on the field.

Vincius Junior, meanwhile, is looking to get back on track after an untimely injury stunted his rapid progress in the Spanish capital towards the end of last season.

The former Flamengo starlet became one of Madrid’s top performers before suffering ligament damage, but this season he has started just one of his side’s opening three matches of the La Liga season.

Now a bonafide member of Zinedine Zidane’s first-team squad, he was tipped to have a breakout season and a full debut for his country could hardly come at a better time.

What is fast becoming a trademark smile lit up the room in Miami this week as he sat down with the travelling Brazilian press core and opened up on what he is hoping to achieve with his club this season.

And he could hardly hide his excitement at what many believe will be the beginning of a long and successful international career.

“I'm happy to be here at such a young age, alongside all these great players, some of whom are ten years older than me,” he said.

“I’m here to learn. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that, at 19-years-old, I’d be a Brazil international and a Real Madrid player.

“I’ve come here to evolve, to work hard and enjoy these 10 days.”

Little seems to dampen the spirits of the teenager, who has taken a life-changing experience in his impressive stride and, should he have been slightly disappointed at his start to the new season back home in Madrid, this week will provide a timely confidence boost.

The issue now is how both Neymar and Vinicius could fit into the same Brazil side over the next few years, with both preferring to operate in an attacking role on the left.

Neymar could return to a more centralised role to accommodate the new kid on the block, but Tite has plenty of time to work that out – and it begins this week on the Brasil Global Tour.