Brazil coach wants Neymar to remain captain

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 23 (IANS) Brazil coach Tite said he will try to convince ace forward Neymar to reverse his decision to quit as the national football team captain.

Neymar stood down as the Selecao’s leader on Saturday after Brazil defeated Germany on penalties to win their first Olympic Games football gold medal in Rio.

“I said to Neymar that he should celebrate for now and worry about (the captaincy) later,” Tite told a press conference here on Monday.

Neymar did not explain his reason for renouncing the captaincy, though it is believed his strained relationship with Brazil’s media played a major part.

During a pre-Olympics news conference at Brazil’s Terespolis training base, Neymar tersely fended off claims that his celebrity lifestyle could be affecting his football.

The 24-year-old has barely appeared before the media since, speaking only when forced to do so, reports Xinhua.

“Being a leader involves many aspects,” Tite said. “He (Neymar) is a leader on the pitch. There is also the aspect of talking in public. We will see.”

Tite said the captaincy could be rotated between Neymar and other experienced players such as Inter Milan central defender Miranda and Juventus right-back Daniel Alves.

Earlier, Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho was recalled to Brazil’s squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia next month.

The former Tottenham Hotspur player has not represented the Selecao since the 2014 World Cup, but has impressed Tite with his form for the Chinese Super League outfit this year.

Real Madrid left-back Marcelo has also returned after being overlooked for the centenary edition of the Copa America in June.

Other Chinese based-players named were Gil (Shandong Luneng) and Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan).

As expected, the 23-man squad includes Neymar, Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and new Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus.

Tite replaced Dunga as Brazil’s national coach in June after the team’s group-stage elimination from the Copa America.

Brazil will play Ecuador in Quito on September 1 followed by a clash with Colombia in Manaus five days later.

The Selecao are currently sixth in the South American zone qualifying standings for 2018 World Cup in Russia. The top four teams will book a direct berth in the tournament while the fifth-ranked side will earn a playoff spot.

Brazil squad:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Marcelo Grohe (Gremio), Weverton (Atletico-Paranaense)

Defenders: Gil (Shandong Luneng), Marquinhos (PSG), Miranda (Inter Milan), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo), Daniel Alves (Juventus), Fagner (Corinthians), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Giuliano (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Lucas Lima (Santos), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Rafael Carioca (Atletico Mineiro), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Willian (Chelsea)

Forwards: Gabriel Barbosa (Santos), Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras), Neymar (Barcelona), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk).



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