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Brazil call up big names for friendly v USMNT

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Brazil is bringing the big guns to MetLife Stadium next month.

The Selecao have announced their 24-man squad for the friendly against the U.S. men’s national team in New Jersey on Sept. 7, as Tite’s men look to get back to business after the slight disappointment of only reaching the last eight of the 2018 World Cup this summer.

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Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Alisson are all included as Brazil aim to wow what should be a mammoth crowd in East Rutherford. However, there are some intriguing absentees with Man City trio Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus and Ederson not included in the roster.

In total there are 13 players on the roster who played for Brazil at the World Cup in Russia this summer as they lost to Belgium 2-1 at the quarterfinal stage.

Below is a look at Brazil’s squad in full, with the USMNT (currently coached by interim boss Dave Sarachan) yet to name their squad for the September friendlies against Brazil on Sept. 7 and then Mexico on Sept. 11 in Nashville.


Neymar under fire after World Cup ‘mea culpa’ advert

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SAO PAULO (AP) Neymar’s decision to use a sponsored advert to admit he sometimes over-reacted to fouls at the World Cup has backfired, with Brazilian marketing experts saying it had made the Paris Saint-Germain striker’s image even worse.

[ MORE: Matt Miazga set to go on loan to French side Caen ]

Under the title `A New Man Every Day,’ Sunday’s video was backed by personal care products maker Gillette and broadcast on several Brazilian TV networks.

“You may think I exaggerate. And sometimes I do exaggerate. But the truth is I suffer on the pitch,” Neymar said in the advert, referring to the constant fouls he received at the World Cup.

“I took long to accept your criticism. I took long to look at myself in the mirror and become a new man.”

Brazil was knocked out by Belgium in the World Cup quarterfinals earlier this month.

Marketing specialists said the advert damaged the 26-year-old player’s brand as much as his histrionics did in Russia.

“The whole market waited 15 days since the end of the World Cup to hear from him,” Amir Somoggi, a partner at marketing company Sports Value, told The Associated Press.

“He gave some interviews, but did not admit his exaggerations then. Now he has hidden behind a TV commercial to do that. This was great for the sponsor, after all we are talking about the brand. But it was not good for Neymar, who now has an even bigger image crisis to handle.”

Sports marketing consultant Erich Beting believes the timing of the advert was a mistake.

“Neymar’s problems happened on the pitch, and he will not play tomorrow to show he has changed, as the ad says. That fact, and his decision to pick an ad to do it, will make it all sound empty. It will be weeks until he has a chance to show any real improvement,” Beting said.

Jose Colagrossi, another sports marketing consultant, agreed.

“It would be different if he really meant it, in a live press conference, looking eye to eye and not in a sponsored video,” he said.

It is not the first time Neymar has used an advert to handle an image crisis.

In 2011, he was criticized for constant misbehavior and he used an advert sponsored by phone carrier Nextel to address his fans.

“You cursed at me when I made mistakes, you screamed when I didn’t listen,” he said in the ad. “You know who I am. Only another happy boy playing with his ball.”

Now, some of the criticism for the image crisis is aimed at Neymar da Silva Santos, his father and the man who manages his career.

Ricardo Fort, who heads global sponsorship deals at Coca-Cola, said the Brazil striker needs to take control of his career.

“After this World Cup, who thinks of Neymar thinks of theatrics, faking. These are attributes that no brand wants to get associated with,” Fort wrote in an open letter to the player in Monday’s edition of magazine Meio & Mensagem.

“It is time for you to hire a professional to take care of your career. You are too valuable to be treated like that.”

Asked to comment on the negativity, Neymar’s staff directed the Associated Press to Procter & Gamble, owners of Gillette. The company did not discuss the criticism of the player, or the ad.

“Like many others, Neymar Jr. faces challenges, injuries and defeats, and the objective of Gillette is to encourage every man, with no distinction, to reflect on the opportunity of becoming a new man every day,” the company said in a statement.

The firm also denied a report by newspaper O Globo saying the striker was paid about $250,000 for the ad.

Neymar talks about embellishment, asks for support in new ad (video)

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Sometimes, advertising is damage control with a side of nationalism.

In an advertisment for Gillette, Brazil superstar Neymar implores his country to stay on his side despite the criticism he’s received for embellishing fouls.

[ VIDEO: USWNT equalizes in stoppage ]

And the 26-year-old PSG star also admits again that, yes, he sure is exaggerating the pain.”You may think I exaggerate, and sometimes I do exaggerate,” he says. “But the truth is I suffer on the pitch.”

He again notes that he’s always fouled when he embellishes, and implies that he’s fouled so often — he truly is — that it’s his way of trying to get it stop.

Neymar was fouled 5.2 times per game last season in Ligue 1, 1.5 fouls more than the next guy (Nabil Fekir of Lyon). His four times fouled per game was the most by a half foul in the Champions League (Paulo Dybala of Juve), and Isco could only get within .4 of Neymar’s 5.2 total at the World Cup.

“You may think I fall too much,” Neymar continued. “But the truth is I did not fall. I fell apart,” he said, in a reference to Brazil’s quarter-finals elimination against Belgium. “That hurts more than any step on an operated ankle.”

But is this a function of that exaggeration? Clearly dribblers get fouled, and it’s just as obvious that Neymar is a magnificent player, but is the embellishment what’s keeping him ahead of the pack?

Neymar: I get the diving jokes but “you will never understand”

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Neymar proved himself not above a laugh at his own expense this week when he posted a video regarding the Neymar Challenge, the phenomenon in which people writhe around in agony at the slightest touch.

The 26-year-old wants the world to understand his reasons for play-acting — or at least his perceived exaggerations — following some fouls, and the keyword here is apparently “some.”

[ MORE: Neymar staying at PSG ]

Neymar is consistently fouled by teams, and there’s little doubt that the majority of Brazil’s World Cup opponents were aiming to disrupt his love of the game if not outright injure the magnificent talent.

He implies, frankly enough, that he’s extra sore and feels injuries more closely than the next guy.

There’s no question Neymar made some ridiculous theater in Russia with his rolling and grimacing, but take a look at his logic and let us know if you buy the “complications” of his antics.

From Sky Sports:

“Do you think I want to suffer tackles all of the time? No, it is painful, it hurts. After the games I stay back for four or five hours putting on ice, it’s complicated but if you haven’t experienced that you will never understand. I saw [the jokes], but I took them with a humor. Even yesterday I posted on Instagram a joke with the children about it.”

Neymar says he’s staying at PSG; rumors “invented by the press”

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Neymar insists he is going nowhere this summer, that he’ll spend (at least) one more season at Paris Saint-Germain, and he intends to bring another handful of trophies back to the French capital in doing so.

[ MORE: PSG in “advanced negotiations” for N’Golo Kante, but must sell first ]

Speaking during a press conference on Friday, his first media availability session since Brazil were eliminated in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals, the 26-year-old superstar went so far as to say that reports linking him with a move to other European mega-clubs (most notably, Real Madrid) were “invented by the press” — quotes from ESPN:

“Yes, I will stay in Paris. I have a contract with PSG. The speculation? The majority of it is invented by the press.

“I have a contract and people know the objective, the reason why I went to PSG. I want to win with this club and I hope this season will be wonderful.”

While it seems a no-brainer that PSG would want Neymar to stay, there’s unquestionably a case to be made that selling him would give them the financial flexibility needed to address needs elsewhere in the squad. N'Golo Kante, for instance, is reportedly transfer target no. 1 at the Parc des Princes, but sales will have to be made before a fee of that size can be paid, due to financial regulations.