Star forward Neymar was left out but veteran defender Dani Alves made the cut as defending champions Brazil announced an 18-man squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Neymar had previously mentioned that he is willing to play at Tokyo 2020 but also admitted that the decision stands with his club, Paris-Saint Germain.
Clubs usually oppose the idea of letting their players participate in the Olympic Games. In 2016, however, Neymar’s former club, FC Barcelona, had granted him permission to play at the Rio Olympics. The star striker went on to lead his nation to their first Olympic gold in football.
A place in the Olympics squad this year would have been added burden on the Brazilian given that he is already representing his team at the ongoing Copa America, which runs until July 11.
Brazil’s journey in the Tokyo Games starts on July 22 and might go on until August 7 if they make it to the final. All this means the forward will have very little recovery time before joining his club for the pre-season commitments.
"Neymar is our reference point .. a great leader of the national team and we would like to be able to count on him. But we couldn't," admitted Brazilian football federation coordinator Branco as the squad was named.
As for 38-year-old Dani Alves, he missed Copa America due to a knee injury, but coach Andre Jardine is hopeful that the defender will make a timely recovery.
Neymar is enjoying a great run of form in Copa America. The 29-year-old scored in Brazil’s tournament opener against Venezuela and followed it up with another goal against Peru.
Brazil football team for Tokyo Olympics
Goalkeepers: Santos, Brenno
Defenders: Dani Alves, Gabriel Menino, Guilherme Arana, Gabriel Magalhaes, Nino, Diego Carlos
Midfielders: Douglas Luiz, Bruno Guimaraes, Gerson, Claudinho, Matheus Henrique
Forwards: Matheus Cunha, Malcom, Antony, Paulinho, Pedro
Featured photo: AFP / Marco Pimentel