Well, we’ve had a feeling for quite some time, but now it’s official: Neymar will play for Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics and miss out on Copa Centenario chaos.
Yes – I count myself among the poor souls who dove deep into venue pass madness in the hopes of seeing Neymar strut his stuff in the quarterfinals at MetLife this June. But alas, MLS-era Kaká it is.
FC Barcelona hit us hard with this tweet:
They followed up with a thank you to the Brazilian Football Confederation (as if they actually had a say in the matter): “Barcelona thanks the Brazilian Football Confederation and its president Marco Polo del Nero, who accepted the proposal made to the club for the player Neymar Jr. only have to compete in the Olympic Games of 2016, which take place between Aug. 3-21.”
As disappointed as some of us might be, this does seem like the logical decision; the Olympics are a priority for Brazil, not only because they’re the competition’s host, but also because of what went down at London 2012.
You remember, right? Depending on where your allegiances lie, you may have fond memories of that competition – or not. Neymar was a member of the Seleção that finished a shiny silver second after falling 2-1 vs. Mexico at Wembley Stadium in 2012. It remains the one major tournament that the team has yet to win.
In other news:
We kid! We kid! All jokes aside, Neymar’s presence in Rio could provide Brazilian sports minister Ricardo Leyser with the added incentive he needs to boost ticket sales. Apparently, he admitted that the government was considering buying boletos to distribute among Brazilian public schools.
Brazil was drawn into Group A with South Africa, Iraq, and Denmark.