New Manchester United signing Antony has acknowledged that his move to the Premier League will give him a better chance of playing in the World Cup, while he has defended the actions of Brazil team-mate Vinicius Jr.
Antony swapped Amsterdam for Manchester in August. The 22-year-old cost United £86m, penning a five-year contract with the option of another year. And the 22-year-old has slotted in well at old Trafford, scoring on his debut against Arsenal.
The Sao-Paulo born attacker has been called up by Brazil boss Tite for the friendlies with Ghana and Tunisia. After missing the June international fixtures because of an ankle problem, Antony has a week to help force his way into Tite’s World Cup plans.
Antony has plenty of competition, including in-form Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus who was not called up. But he now thinks he is on a level playing field regarding his selection after moving to England.
Antony has been capped nine times after making he debut last October against Venezuela. He is also yet to taste defeat in the yellow shirt of Brazil.
United transfer has ‘weight’
“I’m very happy to be at Manchester United today, it does have a weight, because of the Premier League, everyone knew it would be a more difficult challenge. Being in a league where the best are will be very important to play in the World Cup,” said Antony at a press conference, via Globo Esporte.
Antony also believes he is adapting well to life in England as he presses his claims for a place in Qatar in November and December.
“Every time I have new challenges I remember everything I’ve been through. I knew how difficult it would be, to change countries, change leagues, but whenever I think about everything I’ve been through, it motivates me to be able to pursue my career,” said Antony.
The former Sao Paulo star, who grew up in a favela on the outskirts of the Brazilian capital, also discussed the recent Vinicius Jr. controversy.
Antony baffled by Brazilian discrimination
The Real Madrid star was a victim of racial abuse after his dancing celebration in the derby win at Atletico Madrid. And Antony believes Brazilians are often discriminated against for their celebrations.
“There are many things I don’t agree with. We cannot lose this joy, this essence that we have. And it wasn’t just us, Brazilian players, when we score a goal, we dance. Or when you do a skill. Players from Europe also do this,” added Antony.
“What I don’t understand is always having those eyes for the Brazilian player. It’s always booking Neymar or Vinícius Junior for dancing. That’s what I don’t understand, not only Brazilian players do it, but Europeans do it too.
“What we have with us is not to lose the joy and this essence that we have. Of course, always respecting the opponent, always respecting the person.
“But we cannot lose something that we have with us. I myself have a dribbling trait, but I can’t stop doing it because people talk. So this essence, this joy that we have we will keep. I speak for myself, as Vinicius Jr went through this, Neymar himself went through this situation.”