Brazil have summoned eight Premier League players for October’s World Cup qualifiers – and former Middlesbrough star Juninho is hopeful a deal will be struck to avoid more quarantine chaos.
Coach Tite called nine English-based stars for the last batch of internationals at the start of September, but none travelled, with top-flight English clubs refusing to release a number of players travelling to countries on the United Kingdom’s travel red list.
Anyone returning from those countries would have been required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days upon their return, regardless of vaccination status, which was an unacceptable situation for the clubs.
There are hopes that a deal can be struck to allow footballers to travel in bubble conditions, with Juninho pointing to talks involving the Premier League, world football’s governing body FIFA and British government officials.
At one point last month it appeared the players who did not join their national teams could be obligated to miss club games, effectively as a punishment, but that threat eventually receded.
Some Premier League players did travel to their national teams, however, and Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero, plus Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez, joined up with Argentina. They were then at the centre of incredible scenes in Sao Paulo when Brazilian health authority officials stormed onto the pitch to stop the Selecao’s game against Argentina proceeding.
Brazil’s travel rules demand individuals to isolate if they have been in the UK within 14 days of their arrival in the country.
The English-based contingent selected by Brazil for October’s games includes captain Thiago Silva, goalkeepers Alisson and Ederson, Fred, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino. Everton’s Richarlison misses out due to a knee injury, but Leeds United’s Raphinha and Tottenham’s Emerson Royal are in the squad.
Convocação da #SeleçãoBrasileira
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) September 24, 2021
Juninho, now a co-ordinator of the Brazil national team, said the players were selected this time because of the belief a solution could be found.
“There have been several meetings with FIFA, the Premier League and the British government,” Juninho said, quoted on Brazilian sport website Lance.
“We trust that next week there will be a resolution on these cases.”
Brazil travel to play Venezuela on October 7 and Colombia three days later, before a home clash in Manaus against Uruguay on October 14.
The players are due to assemble in Bogota, Colombia, on October 4. Brazil’s eight wins from eight have put them firmly at the front of the race to qualify for next year’s finals in Qatar.
Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras); Danilo (Juventus), Emerson Royal (Tottenham), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Guilherme Arana (Atletico Mineiro), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Lucas Verissimo (Benfica); Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fabinho (Liverpool), Gerson (Marseille), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon), Edenilson (Internacional); Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Antony (Ajax), Raphinha (Leeds United), Gabi (Flamengo), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).
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