Rio de Janeiro: Brazil should have been gearing up for another major home sporting spectacle with renewed optimism that star forward Neymar would help bring to an end a 12-year trophy drought.
But instead, the Selecao’s golden boy is dominating the build-up to a tournament he will miss due to an ankle injury for all the wrong reasons.
Coach Tite insists that Brazil are still in fine fettle ahead of the tournament, which they haven’t won since 2007 when a team inspired by former Real Madrid and AC Milan forward Robinho outclassed Lionel Messi’s Argentina 3-0 in the final.
Tite admitted Neymar would be missed, saying “it’s a shame to not have one of the three best players in the world.”
“After Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s comparable only to (Eden) Hazard, with one advantage: he’s quicker. That’s the player we’re missing,” said Tite last week.
But he said that rather than reflect on what they’re missing, “inside the squad we’re much more focused on working hard, training well, preparing for matches, which has been our main focus.” — AFP