OLYMPICS Can Ney­mar lead the Sele­cao to glory?

The Myanmar Times - - Olympics -

de­feat to Ger­many at their own World Cup two years ago and a group stage exit at the Copa Amer­ica Cen­te­nario in June.

Golden boy Ney­mar has been un­tar­nished by the fail­ures.

Two bro­ken ver­te­brae in his back suf­fered near the end of a quar­ter-fi­nal win over Colom­bia left Brazil with­out their tal­is­man against the Ger­mans two years ago.

And as part of an agree­ment be­tween Barcelona and the Brazil­ian fed­er­a­tion, Ney­mar skipped the Copa Amer­ica – which sealed Dunga’s fate as Brazil coach for the sec­ond time – to en­sure he is fresh for the Olympics.

Roge­rio Mi­cale will take charge af­ter lead­ing Brazil to the un­der-20 World Cup fi­nal last year. Like the fans he also ex­pects Ney­mar to de­liver.

“I want to be de­pen­dent on Ney­mar,” he says. “What coach in the world would not want a Ney­mar in their team?

“Ney­mar has ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions. He is ap­pre­ci­ated. He’s a good guy with a huge heart es­pe­cially around the younger play­ers.

“He has shown that he is more than just a great player – he’s a great man ad­mired by every­body.”

Ney­mar was part of the Brazil side shocked by Mex­ico in the fi­nal of the 2012 Olympics, whilst even the likes of Ron­aldo and Ronald­inho have come up short when charged with de­liv­er­ing gold.

How­ever, Brazil are strong favourites to end their wait, as on top of home ad­van­tage they also pos­sess by far the strong­est squad on pa­per.

Each team is re­stricted to just three play­ers over the age of 23 in their 18man squads.

Won­der kids Gabriel Bar­bosa and Gabriel Je­sus, both tipped to make big-money moves to Europe from San­tos and Palmeiras re­spec­tively af­ter the Games, will sup­port Ney­mar in at­tack.

Mean­while, Paris Saint Ger­main de­fender Mar­quin­hos and Ney­mar’s Barcelona team­mate Rafinha are also among Mi­cale’s squad.

Brazil open their cam­paign against South Africa in Brasilia, one of six Olympic foot­ball host cities, be­fore fac­ing Iraq and Den­mark in Group A. –

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