Brasilia: A gold medal winner at home five years ago, Brazil will be travelling to Tokyo Olympics without Neymar after head coach Andre Jardine announced the squad on Thursday. Real Madrid winger Rodrygo too has been left out while 38-year-old Sao Paulo defender Dani Alves, who is out of the Copa America through injury, has made the cut.
In 2016 in Rio, it was Neymar’s penalty kick that earned Brazil its first Olympic gold medal. The PSG star also scored a fantastic free-kick in that final against Germany. Neymar, who also won silver at London 2012, had expressed an interest in playing in Tokyo this summer. Brazil are in Group D with Germany, Saudi Arabia and the Ivory Coast.
The 29-year-old has been in good form at the ongoing Copa America 2021 having scored in both the games so far against Venezuela and Peru. Jardine has also included Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhaes and Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz in the roster as well as the veteran Alves. 31-year-old goalkeeper Santos and 28-year-old defender Diego Carlos also made the cut.
“Dani is a reference to everyone,” Jardine said. “He is one of the most successful players there are. He is going to bring experience and leadership to the team. It was a dream for him to play at the Olympics. Let’s complete his resume.” The Tokyo Olympics was initially scheduled to be held between July and August 2020. The event was later rescheduled for July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goalkeepers: Santos (Athletico PR), Brenno (Gremio)
Defenders: Dani Alves (Sao Paulo), Gabriel Menino (Palmeiras) Guilherme Arana (Atletico), Nino (Fluminense), Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal), Diego Carlos (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), B. Guimaraes (Lyon), Matheus Henrique (Gremio), Gerson (Flamengo), Claudinho (Red Bull Braga)
Forwards: Malcom (FC Zenit), Antony (Ajax), Paulinho (Bayer Leverkusen), Matheus Cunha (Hertha Berlin), Pedro (Flamengo)