U.S. Markets closed

Tite defends Rodrygo's lack of playing time with Brazil

The Real Madrid teenager has starred for his club this season, but wasn't given the chance to shine for his country over the international break

Tite rejected criticism of his decision to play Rodrygo Goes for just two minutes in Brazil's 3-0 win over South Korea on Tuesday.

The Brazil coach said on Monday he would be patient with the teenage forward, who has made an impressive start to life at Real Madrid.

Rodrygo has scored twice in four La Liga appearances for Madrid and notched a hat-trick in their 6-0 Champions League demolition of Galatasaray this month.

The 18-year-old got 19 minutes on his Brazil debut in the 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday and received even less playing time in Abu Dhabi.

"It's one thing to throw Rodrygo into a system that's already structured, like Real's. It's another thing to put him in a team that is being reassembled, even if he was doing the same job in the same position," Tite said.

"It was so hard to organise for the team for today and they responded well. They were close to scoring a fourth and a fifth.

"It was a chance for Fabinho, Renan Lodi and Militao. They earned the chance and asserted themselves. Could it have been Rodrygo? Yes, but I preserved the continuity and the good moment of the team in the game."

While cautious to throw Rodrygo straight into the national team, the Selecao coach recently praised the teenager's conduct and believes he's an ideal role model for other young Brazilians. 

"I talked to him and said he had to be very proud of his behaviour. As a person, as an example," Tite said earlier in the week.

"I asked him to give a hug to his parents for the education they gave. Say thanks to Jair Ventura, the coach who launched him. He is an example for a lot of young boys who would like to be in his position.

"He must think I am a little crazy, because I was talking and I do not know him, this is our first meeting.

"But I saw that when he scored the first goal [against Galatasaray] he went to hug [Karim] Benzema, who assisted. When he completed the hat-trick, I saw the television camera was focusing on him and he didn't look at the camera. He took the ball and kissed it and stood there.

"He becomes an example for a number of boys. Football is a transformation agent, both for good and for bad. He's like that, and I ended up telling him to hug his parents. I don't know them, but they deserve it."