Neymar to play in home Olympics and not Copa, say Barcelona

Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:25pm EDT
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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Neymar will play in the Olympics in August and will miss the Centenary Copa America in the United States in June, his club Barcelona said on Wednesday to end months of speculation.

"FC Barcelona expresses its gratitude to the Brazilian Football Confederation and its president Marco Polo del Nero for accepting the club’s proposal for Neymar Jr to only play at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer...and not at the Copa America in the United States...," the Catalan club said in a statement.

Neymar, 24, is by far the most heralded player in the Brazil side and coach Dunga had hoped to have him available for both tournaments.

He will be one of the three over-age players permitted in Brazil's under-23 squad for the Games.

Rio de Janeiro will become the first South American city to host the Games and Brazil were last week drawn in a group to play South Africa, Iraq and Denmark in the men's soccer tournament.

(Writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by Toby Davis)

Football Soccer - Barcelona v Valencia - Spanish Liga BBVA - Camp Nou stadium, Barcelona - 17/4/16Barcelona's Neymar reacts against Valencia.  REUTERS/Albert Gea