Neymar will play for Brazil in Olympics… if Barcelona allow it

AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
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If Brazilian national team head coach Dunga has his way, Barcelona superstar Neymar will feature for his under-23 side at this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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There’s just one problem with that — getting his way will require Dunga to convince Neymar’s employers to make the 24-year-old (each side is allowed three overage players) available for the tournament, despite the fact it’ll almost certainly clash with Barca’s pre- and early-season schedule.

Nevertheless, Dunga remains hopeful, as he explained on Brazilian television Sunday night following the group-stage draw for the 2016 Copa America Centenario — quotes from ESPN FC:

“We will be speaking with the directors of Barcelona as well as their coach Luis Enrique and the player, who is the key piece, and will try to find a solution that works for everyone. There are players we plan to call up for both the Copa America Centenario as well as the Olympics.”

Everyone in the world, save perhaps Barca fans and those of Brazil’s Olympic opponents, want to see Neymar starring in the Olympics on home soil.

It’ll be an extremely tight schedule, though, with the men’s soccer competition kicking off Aug. 3 and finishing Aug. 20, likely the same weekend the 2016-17 La Liga season will begin back in Spain. Should Neymar play in both the Copa America and Olympics, he’ll have played 12 months straight without an offseason. At that point, he’d need three to four weeks off to rest and recover, followed by a week or two of “preseason” to get up to speed with his Barca teammates.