Rio de Janeiro, July 29 (IANS) Beijing Guoan midfielder Renato Augusto has said that he is “100 percent ready” to live his Olympic dream for Brazil, despite suffering the effects of jet leg after a 36-hour journey to Rio.
The 28-year-old arrived here on Thursday, several days later than most of his Brazil teammates due to commitments with his Chinese Super League club, reports Xinhua.
Having hired his own personal trainer after joining Beijing Guoan from Corinthians in January, Renato said he was as fit as he has ever been.
“I am 100 percent. I am training a lot, a lot more than I did here,” he told reporters. “We have had a sequence of a lot of matches and football in China requires you to run a lot. Physically, I’m feeling great.”
The International Olympic Committee allows each football squad to include only three players over the age of 23. Renato joins goalkeeper Fernando Prass and forward Neymar as Brazil’s over-age representatives.
He said that playing at an Olympic Games in his home city will be the realisation of a childhood dream.
“I didn’t think that playing in the Olympics would be possible, because of my age,” Renato said. “It has always been a dream to play a final in the city where I grew up. It would be very special.”
Renato earned an Olympic call-up earlier this month after Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa was ruled out of the tournament with a thigh injury.
The midfielder volunteered to be captain of the team, but said the armband was only “symbolic” as all players carried “equal importance”.
“I think it’s more important to think about the gold medal,” he said.
Despite five World Cup triumphs, Brazil have never won an Olympic football gold medal. The hosts will fine-tune their preparations with a friendly against Japan in Goiania on July 30 before starting their Rio 2016 campaign against South Africa in Brasilia on August 4.