Neymar gets another chance; named Brazil skipper for Rio Olympics 2016
After days of speculation over his role, it was decided that superstar Barcelona forward Neymar will captain Brazil at Rio 2016 Olympic football tournament, the team’s head coach has said. This will be second opportunity for the star player to make amends for his country’s bitter 2014 World Cup campaign that ended in a shocking 7-1 rout by eventual champions Germany.
The 24-year-old has led Brazil’s senior national team for the past two years but there was speculation he might be stripped of the skipper’s armband in Rio.
Brazil coach Rogerio Micale said Neymar had “exceeded his expectations” after meeting him for the first time this week, Xinhua news agency reported.
“In relation to the captain, it’s going to be Neymar,” Micale told a press conference here on Friday.
“He has exceeded my expectations in relation to his quality. He changes direction so quickly. In one-on-one, he is in a different world. Within the group, he is loved by everybody. A good guy, with a big heart in relation to his teammates, especially the younger ones.”
Neymar has been widely lambasted in Brazil for regularly posting images of himself partying and posing with other celebrities on social media.
His recent performances for Brazil have also been questioned, having received five red cards for ill-discipline in the past 18 months.
Neymar is one of the three players over the age of 23 in Brazil’s squad, as per International Olympic Committee rules. The others are Beijing Guoan midfielder Renato Augusto and Palmeiras goalkeeper Fernando Prass.
Brazil, who are bidding for their first Olympic football gold medal, will fine-tune their tournament preparations with a friendly against Japan in Goiania.