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Neymar will play Olympics, not Copa America


Can Neymar deliver Brazil its first Olympic men’s soccer title? (Getty)

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Neymar will play for Brazil at the Olympics in August but not Copa America Centenario in June, according to Barcelona and confirmed by Brazil’s soccer federation, according to Brazilian media.

“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, to be held from August 3 to 21, and not at the Copa America in the United States from June 3 to 26,” the Spanish club said in a statement Wednesday.

Barcelona controls Neymar’s rights for the Olympics but not Copa America Centenario and has said Neymar can play in one of the two tournaments, but not both. The club wants to keep its prized striker healthy and rested for its matches.

That left the decision on which tournament in the hands of Brazil’s soccer federation, which controls Neymar’s rights for Copa America.

Brazil’s federation prefers Neymar to play in the Olympics over Copa America but wanted him for both tournaments.

The Olympics are important for Brazil and for Neymar, since the nation is hosting the Games for the first time and has never won Olympic soccer gold.

Neymar led the 2012 Olympic silver-medal winning squad for Brazil.

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