Rio de Janeiro, Nov 4 (IANS) Brazilian player Mateus Vital says he wants to follow in the footsteps of Philippe Coutinho. In an interview on the club’s official web site, the 17-year-old said his idol was Coutinho, who represented Vasco 19 times before a 2009 move to Inter Milan, reported Xinhua news agency. Vital was last month promoted to Vasco da Gama’s professional ranks after impressing for the club’s U-20 team. “Being called up was a surprise to me. I did not expect it,” Vital said. “I was very happy because it meant I was fulfilling a part of my dream. I hope this can be the beginning of many achievements. I feel privileged to be following in the footsteps of my idol Coutinho.

“I hope to honour this shirt as much as he did. This achievement will be a milestone in my life.” Vital is expected to make his first-team debut for the Rio de Janeiro outfit in the coming weeks as Vasco strive to avoid relegation from Brazil’s top flight.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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