The Selecao legend admits he was “very sad” to see the iconic jersey treated without the proper respect

Rivaldo has slammed Brazil’s decision to hand AC Milan midfielder Lucas Paqueta the number 10 shirt during the nation’s 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday. 

With Neymar still sidelined through injury, the sacred jersey was handed to a 22-year-old Paqueta, who has only made 10 senior appearances for Brazil.

Rivaldo, one of many legendary Brazilians to have donned the number, believes such a young and inexperienced player shouldn’t have been allowed to wear the shirt so soon.

While not questioning Paqueta’s abilities, Rivaldo stressed a player the wearing the number 10 simply must demand a certain level of respect. 

“I watched the match between Brazil v Argentina and was very sad to see what happened with the number 10 shirt,” Rivaldo wrote on Instagram.  

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“They gave the shirt to Paqueta against Argentina. A shirt that is respected worldwide. This shirt is not meant to be on the bench, let alone go off at half-time, because it is the shirt the world knows and respects because it was worn and honoured by Pele, Rivelino, Zico, Rivaldo, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Neymar.

“The player is not to blame, but the coaching staff is, because they know the weight of this shirt and also that it could burn the 22-year-old, who can have a great future with the Brazilian team.

“Just as the coach wanted to protect Rodrygo, who is playing very well at Real Madrid, for this match, he could have protected Paqueta from playing with that shirt.

“We all know that Brazil and Argentina will never be a friendly match.” 

Paqueta rose through the ranks of Flamengo before securing a move to AC Milan in early 2019, with the attacking midfielder now a regular starter with the Rossoneri. 

Brazil’s narrow loss to Argentina on Friday was overshadowed by a touchline exchange between Tite and Lionel Messi. 

Speaking after the match, the Selecao coach revealed the Argentine star had told him to keep quiet on the sidelines. 

“I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth,” Tite said. 

“I don’t want to answer anymore on it. You need a strong referee because he’ll swallow you. It should have been a card, I was right to complain.”