Copa America 2021: Neymar named captain to lead Brazil in continental championship

Copa America 2021: Neymar named captain to lead Brazil in continental championship
Copa America 2021: Neymar named captain to lead Brazil in continental championship

Copa America 2021: Brazil coach Tite named his squad for the troubled tournament, and has now confirmed it will be led by superstar Neymar.

The defending South American champions will keep a roster nearly identical to the one that beat both Ecuador and Paraguay 2-0 this month to extend the Selecao’s win streak in World Cup qualifying to six matches.

Also Read: Copa America 2021: Brazil confirmed to play in Copa America; puts end to boycott rumours

Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar, who missed Brazil’s 2019 Copa America win due to injury, will lead a squad with just one change: returning from injury, 36-year-old Chelsea defender Thiago Silva will replace Rodrigo Caio of Flamengo.

There are two notable absences for the defending champions, both due to injury: Dani Alves of Sao Paulo, the captain of the 2019 squad, and Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona.

The bigger question-marks hanging over the tournament, scheduled to open Sunday when Brazil face Venezuela, are playing out off the pitch.

Also Read: Copa America 2021: Brazil skipper Casemiro’s big statement, “Everyone against hosting Copa in Brazil”

The last-minute decision to move the tournament to Brazil from pandemic-battered Argentina and protest-racked Colombia has triggered controversy, given that the emergency host country is also reeling from Covid-19.

Brazil’s Supreme Court is due to rule Thursday whether the Copa America can go ahead, after opponents of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro moved to block it, arguing it poses a health risk.

There were rumors Brazil’s players would boycott the tournament, upset over their country’s decision to play host.

But they said Tuesday in a joint statement that although they “are against organizing the Copa America,” they would “never say no to the Brazilian national team.”

Brazil squad for the Copa America:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool/ENG), Ederson (Manchester City/ENG), Weverton (Palmeiras)

Defenders: Alex Sandro (Juventus/ITA), Danilo (Juventus/ITA), Emerson (Barcelona/ESP), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Eder Militao (Real Madrid/ESP), Felipe (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Thiago Silva (Chelsea/ENG)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid/ESP), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa/ENG), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Fabinho (Liverpool/ENG), Fred (Manchester United/ENG), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon/FRA)

Forwards: Everton (Benfica/POR), Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City/ENG), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Richarlison (Everton/ENG), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool/ENG), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid/ESP)

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