Summoned yesterday (27) for the Brazilian national team, midfielder Matheus Nunes may not appear for the three games of the Qatar World Cup qualifiers in the next days 2, 5 and 9. There are two reasons that make his situation an unknown behind the scenes: his incomplete vaccination schedule and an appeal from the Portuguese for him to refuse Brazil and play for the national team in which he has lived since childhood.
The 23-year-old was named by Tite along with eight other names as replacements for those on the original list and playing in England – the country’s clubs made the unanimous decision not to release athletes for health reasons amidst the pandemic. In addition to Matheus Nunes, Santos, Everson, Miranda, Gérson, Edenilson, Malcom, Vini Jr and Hulk were called up. The training starts on Monday (30).
Born in Brazil and raised since the age of 14 in Portugal, Matheus Nunes plays for Sporting and had been coveted in recent months by leaders of the European country to become naturalized. His good phase earned praise in the last week of the Portuguese national team coach, Fernando Santos: “We’ve seen him last year and he’s ready to be called up. I’ll never ask to naturalize a player to join the national team, but I’ll never discriminate against someone who, for option, has been able to represent Portugal.”
The CBF opened contacts with him and his staff to avoid losing a dual citizenship player with good technical potential to another strong team. The great current example is Jorginho, who was born in Brazil and defends Italy, the country where he was raised. In the case of Andreas Pereira, Brazil prevented him from defending the Belgium team with a call-up in September 2018 and the player’s own wish.
After yesterday’s call (27), representatives of the Portuguese team resumed conversations with Matheus Nunes to say that his call is close and maintenance among those called may be easier than in Brazil, as initially reported by the TV channel “SIC” . CBF is awaiting official communication from the player regarding the presentation in São Paulo this weekend.
There is yet another ingredient in this story, which is Sporting’s desire that he not travel to Brazil. Matheus Nunes has not yet completed his vaccination schedule, which means he could have to do quarantine in Portugal before resuming his normal activities and thus miss important games, including in the European Champions League.
Matheus Nunes is in the selection because of the nationality situation, but also for technical reasons. According to the UOL Sport, he caught the attention of Tite and his assistants for the variety of game options it offers. He has already played in Sporting’s midfield both on the right and on the left — he is usually cast as a kind of second man, a role that has Fred as a starter in the selection and in which a good ability to go forward is the supreme foundation. Tends to dispute position with Bruno Guimarães.
Sporting is on the field this Saturday with Matheus Nunes among the starters against Famalicão. The tendency is that after the game there is a solution to the imbroglio.