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Neymar central to Brazil coach’s golden plans
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Brazil’s Neymar is airborne after running in to Colombia’s Mario Yepes during the World Cup quarter-final. The star playmaker will be carrying hosts hopes in Olympics football
Micale insists he is happy to be ‘dependent’ on Barcelona playmaker.
Brazil’s Olympic coach admitted on Tuesday that he was relying on Barcelona star forward Neymar to shoot the hosts to a first Games gold in Rio next month.
Current under-20s coach Rogerio Micale has been charged with rejuvenating Brazilian football in Rio after Dunga was fired following Brazil’s shock first-round exit from the Copa America.
“I want to be dependent on Neymar,” he said, as the squad went through its first training session for the Rio Games.
“What coach in the world would not want a Neymar in his team? They say it’s not good to be dependent on Neymar, but I do not agree: I would always have a Neymar in my team.”
Micale’s stance is in stark contrast Dunga, who had tried to suggest the Brazilian side was not a one-man team.
“My impression of him was better than I expected,” the new coach admitted.
“He is extremely motivated, he is aware of what the Olympics represent and wants to help as much possible,” Micale said.
The Olympic football tournament is the sport’s only major international competition that Brazil has yet to win.
Brazil have won the World Cup five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. They last won the World Cup in 2002 – but shocked fans with an abject 7-1 loss in the semi-final of World Cup 2014 to Germany on home turf.
Micale’s side will fine-tune their preparations for the tournament with a friendly against Japan in Goiania on July 30.
Brazil will debut at the Rio 2016 Games against South Africa in Brasilia on August 4.
Tite will take over the Selecao after the Olympics.