Neymar to captain Brazil in Japan friendly, Rodrigo Micale confirms
Neymar will wear the captain's armband in Brazil's Olympic warm-up against Japan on Saturday, manager Rogerio Micale has announced.
Former manager Dunga named the Barcelona star captain in September 2014, following Brazil's humiliating World Cup campaign on home soil, saying at the time: "We have to have a strong group so that Neymar can grow more each day, as a player, as a person, being an example to children."
However Neymar's leadership has come under intense scrutiny since that appointment. The former Santos man was banned from Brazil's 2015 Copa America quarterfinal loss to Paraguay for his actions in the final moments of a group stage defeat to Colombia.
And this summer, though barred by Barca from participating in Brazil's disappointing Copa America Centenario campaign, his chastising letter directed at Brazil's detractors angered many in his home country, causing some of the national team's greatest players to call for his captaincy to be taken away.
Dunga's successor with national team, Tite, has made no promises to maintain Neymar as captain under his watch. However Micale, who is in charge of Brazil's Olympic team for next month's tournament, has selected Neymar, one of three over-23 players, to skipper the side against Japan.
"The captain will be Neymar," Micale told a news conference. "But I have another captain here at my side [Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos], who could have the armband for everything he represents."
Micale hailed Neymar's abilities both on and off the pitch, calling him "a great athlete and a great man," before highlighting the 24-year-old's remarkable ability on the pitch.
"Neymar has proven what we've seen and even surpassed my expectations in relation to the quality that he possesses," Micale said.
Brazil will open their Olympic campaign on Aug. 4 with a match against South Africa in Brasilia.
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