Reuters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Jun 30, 2016, 11.30 AM
Brazil's Olympic coach Rogerio Micale called up midfielder Douglas Costa and goalkeeper Fernando Prass on Wednesday to join striker Neymar as the three players over the age of 23 to play with Brazil as they try to win Olympic gold at home at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Neymar, who was already named to the Olympic squad in a deal reached with Barcelona, is the biggest name on the list of 18 players Micale announced at the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF) headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.
Micale said he would not hesitate to reach out to Brazil's new head coach for the national team, Tite, as he steers his team through the Olympics.
"It's an honour, a joy to have 'Professor Tite' on my side. I'm not going to feel any kind of embarrassment leaning on his wisdom, all the soccer experiences he has seen, the victories he's had all this time. I want to be very close (to him), because whatever can be added right now will be good for my career," Micale said.
Brazil are thirsty for a gold medal on their home turf after taking silver to Mexico at the London 2012 Games.
Micale said he was forced to leave players he had hoped to count on out of the line-up after their clubs would not free them up for the Olympics, which are not part of the FIFA calendar for national teams.
Micale said most the players on the squad are leaders at their clubs, both domestically and abroad, and that he is confident in his young team adding that they could take some pressure off of Neymar.
"He's a player with a different kind of profile, an indisputable quality, one of the best players in the world. I think any coach from any national team in the world would like to be able to count on a player with a profile like his. But on the national team we try to add other leaders, we do have them, yes. I don't think we can put it all on one player even if he has all the qualities he represents in soccer throughout the world. And my expectations are that he will respond. I know how badly he wants a medal, just like the rest of us," Micale added.
The 2016 Olympics will be Brazil's first official competition in Brazil since their failed 2014 World Cup in which they lost 7 to 1 to Germany in the semi-finals and then again to the Netherlands 3 to 0 in the third place match.
Brazil will open their campaign in Group A against South Africa (Aug. 8, Brasilia), Iraq (Aug. 7, Brasilia) and Denmark (Aug. 10, Salvador).