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Barcelona let Neymar stay in Brazil ahead of qualifiers

Neymar will make his return to Barcelona following the September international break after he was named in Brazil’s squad for the World Cup qualifying matches against Ecuador and Colombia.

The 24-year-old forward captained the home nation to glory at the Rio Olympics, netting a stunning free-kick in Saturday’s final before scoring the winning penalty to defeat Germany and prompt delirious celebrations at the Maracana.

His inclusion for Tite’s first game in charge of the full national side has prompted Barca boss Luis Enrique to give permission for Neymar to remain in South America and miss Sunday’s LaLiga trip to Athletic Bilbao.

Gabriel Barbosa and Gabriel Jesus starred in attack at the Olympics alongside Neymar and the teenage forwards have been given the nod by Tite, who has selected seven Olympians in total.

Manchester City-bound Jesus will be hoping to make his senior international bow, although his future club-mate Fernandinho does not make the cut in midfield despite an impressive start to the Premier League season.

Atletico Paranaense goalkeeper Weverton and Beijing Guoan midfielder Renato Augusto joined Neymar as “overage” players in the Under-23 squad for the Games and also make the cut along with fellow gold medallists Marquinho and Rodrigo Caio

Marquinhos’ Paris Saint-Germain colleague Thiago Silva will be missing due to a hip problem for both the trip to Ecuador on September 1 and Colombia’s visit to the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus on September 6.

Tite was confirmed as Dunga’s successor as head coach after Brazil were eliminated at the group stage of the Copa America Centenario and he must lift them into the qualification places for Russia 2018.

Brazil sit sixth with nine points from six matches in the notoriously gruelling CONMEBOL section and Tite hopes the feel-good factor brought on by Olympic success can inspire his squad.

On the possible impact of Brazil’s golden triumph, he said: “It is a legacy of a very strong sense of unity. We faced a difficult time and there was a warmth and understanding from the supporters when we needed it.

“Both opponents will present great difficulty and are above our classification. Their teams are together, have a level of confidence, quick transitions, balance, physical imposition and technical quality.”
 

Brazil squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Marcelo Grohe (Gremio), Weverton (Atletico Paranaense)

Defenders: Gil (Shandong Luneng), Marquinhos (PSG), Miranda (Inter) Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo), Dani Alves (Juventus), Fagner (Corinthians), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Giuliano (Zenit), Lucas Lima (Santos), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Rafael Carioca (Atletico Mineiro), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Willian (Chelsea)

Forwards: Gabriel Barbosa (Santos), Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras), Neymar (Barcelona), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk).

Mon 22 Aug, 2016
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