Neymar in Brazil squad amid transfer speculation

Brazil, Clubs, FIFA World Cup Qualifying - AFC/CONMEBOL Playoff, Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain, Story, Transfers

Neymar has been named in Brazil’s squad for next month’s friendlies against Colombia and Peru as speculation continues over where the forward will play his club football this season.

The Paris Saint-Germain star has recovered from the ankle injury he picked up while on international duty in June, which prevented him from playing at the Copa America his country hosted and eventually won.

However, he has not featured for PSG since returning from his summer vacation, with the ex-Barcelona player rumoured to be on his way back to La Liga to reunite with his former teammates, or join arch rivals Real Madrid.

“I’m never going to discard a player of the quality of Neymar,” Brazil coach Tite said in Friday’s news conference. “I want Neymar to be happy but I have no right to comment on whether he should go here or there.”

The 27-year-old has made it clear that he wants to leave PSG this summer, having joined the club in 2017 for €222m, with two of his international teammates linked as part of complicated swap deals for both Real and Barca.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr. — who sources told ESPN FC would not be leaving Madrid as part of any deal for Neymar — has been named in the Brazil squad, despite having yet to make his debut with Selecao senior team. The 19-year-old has had a limited role in preseason with fellow winger Eden Hazard having arrived at the club this summer.

Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho is also on Tite’s squad list. The midfielder has struggled to adapt to life at Camp Nou since joining from Liverpool in January 2018 for £142m but has been included in Barca’s squad for Friday’s La Liga opener at Athletic Bilbao.

“Coutinho is a great player, He was one of the standout players in the opening games of the Copa America then his performances oscillated,” Tite said. “His and our aim is for him to pick up where he left off at Liverpool.”

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho did not make the Copa America squad but is back as Copa America winners Brazil take on Colombia in Miami on Sept. 6. before facing Peru four days later in Los Angeles.

Tite is without injured goalkeeper Allison Becker, while striker Gabriel Jesus is serving a two-month ban imposed by CONMEBOL.

Brazil full squad:

Goalkeepers: Ederson (Manchester City), Ivan (Ponte Preta), Weverton (Palmeiras).

Defenders: Alex Sandro (Juventus), Dani Alves (São Paulo), Militão (Real Madrid), Fagner (Corinthians), Jorge (Santos), Marquinhos (PSG), Thiago Silva (PSG), Samir (Udinese).

Midfielders: Allan (Napoli), Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fabinho (Liverpool), Paquetá (Milan), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona).

Forwards: Bruno Henrique (Flamengo), David Neres (Ajax), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Neymar (PSG), Richarlison (Everton), Vinicius Jr. (Real Madrid).

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