Neymar’s health will not be put at risk in the name of Brazil pursuing World Cup glory, according to head coach Tite.
The five-time world champions face an anxious wait over their star man’s return to fitness after he suffered a fractured foot in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille at the end of last month.
Surgery followed and an estimated three-month recovery period means Neymar faces a race against time to be in peak condition for Brazil’s World Cup opener against Switzerland in Rostov on June 17.
Nevertheless, speaking after confirming his squad for the forthcoming friendlies with Russia and Germany, Tite insisted rushing Neymar back is not a price he is willing to pay – even with the stakes so high.
“Neymar’s father said the primary concern is the athlete’s health. It is the same thing all us think. Health comes first,” he told a news conference.
“You don’t pay for winning like that – whether it’s the World Cup, whether it’s the Brazilian national team.
“Paying the price with someone’s health or rushing someone’s recovery, we don’t do that.”
Besiktas midfielder Anderson Talisca and Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose are the new faces in Tite’s squad and will look to make the most of a late chance to book a place in the squad for Russia 2018.
“Willian Jose and Talisca are in great athletic moments and are included to bring different components,” Tite said.
“For example, Willian Jose has had two great seasons at Real Sociedad and is really developing as a player. He has great movement as an athlete and a good overall game. He has a motion and a style of playing similar to that of the Selecao.
“Talisca can finish from mid-distance. He has great numbers in two really good seasons. He is good with balls in the air and heading, which can be an advantage against defences set up in lines of four or five, to have more movement in the area and presence.”
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