Brazil national team boss Tite doesn’t believe Neymar to be “irreplaceable” but rather someone who gives the Seleção a unique feeling.
The 28-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward missed last summer’s Copa America, held in Brazil, which the five-time world champions went on to lift.
Neymar’s importance to Brazil: Five things to know…
- Neymar is Brazil’s third-most prolific scorer on 61 goals in 101 appearances.
- Only Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) have registered more goals for the five-time world champions.
- He missed last summer’s home Copa America due to an ankle injury as Brazil lifted their ninth title.
- Tite has described Neymar as essential rather than being irreplaceable.
- To date, Neymar has scored 15 times under Tite while creating a further 17 across 31 matches.
His absence, due to rupturing a ligament in his ankle, was seen by many as a blow to Brazil’s chances given Neymar’s prolificacy for the national team.
Up and until then, since emerging as a highly-promising teenager, he’d registered 60 goals across 97 international appearances which, at the time, placed him third in Brazil’s all-time top scorers’ list behind Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77).
Tite’s men needn’t have worried, though, as they went all the way and won the tournament, with then largely unknown Grêmio forward Everton Soares finishing as the competition’s leading marksman on three goals.
With another World Cup finals on the horizon, Tite has spoken at length about Neymar’s role in his team, with that most recent tournament proving there’s no dependency on him but if he could choose, he’d rather have the former Barça man as he offers something very few can.
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“Neymar reassures you, because he brings unpredictability to your game,” he told France Football.
“Because he will offer you an individual or collective solution that others cannot, and with him, the potential of a team is not the same, because he will sparkle. The Neymar I am speaking of is the one who was within full mental and physical capacities.
“Neymar is essential, but not irreplaceable.”