Watch: Antony forces Serbia defender to reconsider career with filthy nutmeg
Manchester United star Antony only had a 10-minute cameo in Brazil’s World Cup opener against Serbia, but he made sure he took his chance to dazzle on the biggest stage of all.
The winger had to make do with a place on the bench as Brazil boss Tite opted for a front four of Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Raphinha and Richarlison.
Tottenham striker Richarlison was undoubtedly the star of the show, scoring both of the Selecao’s goal in a 2-0 victory, with his acrobatic second effort surely a contender for goal of the tournament.
Real Madrid superstar Vinicius Junior claimed the assists for both of the goals, which will likely seal his place in Tite’s preferred XI. However, Antony could potentially challenge former Leeds talisman Raphinha – now at Barcelona – for a place on the right side of the attack.
Antony, who arrived at Old Trafford from Ajax for a reported £86million fee in the summer, was introduced in the 80th minute, replacing Brazil’s star man Neymar. It would have been immensely proud moment for the Red Devils winger, who broke down in tears in response to his first World Cup call-up.
The 22-year-old didn’t get a chance to pull off his trademark spinning skill, but he did manage a nutmeg, demonstrating his lightning-quick footwork out on the wing, getting past his man before darting inside and teeing up Rodrgyo – who could only blaze his shot high and wide. But it would have been quite the assist.
“Could be,” responded Brazilian legend Dani Alves in a Guardian interview, when asked if his young team-mate could be the breakout star of Qatar 2022.
“Why not? He’s a phenomenon. You have to be careful in football because it’s a huge machine of distraction and you have to find balance, not be carried away when you’re in your best moment or when you’re not in your best moment.”