Rio de Janeiro: Having too many players to choose from is a problem most coaches relish.
For Tite, it’s a problem he could do without.
The Brazil coach recently picked his squad for this year’s Copa America, and it unsurprisingly included Neymar and Thiago Silva – two of the national team’s most important players. But much of the criticism came in regard to those names that were missing.
“This is the most difficult list I had to make in my life,” Tite said after making his squad announcement for the tournament that starts on June 14 on home soil.
“I didn’t sleep. My wife tried to help, but she couldn’t. I made those choices, but any of the others I didn’t pick would have fit, too,” he added.
There was no place in the squad for Lucas Moura, who scored a hat trick this month to help Tottenham pull off an incredible come-from-behind victory over Ajax and reach the Champions League final.
Nor was there a spot for Fabinho, who played a key role in Liverpool’s improbable 4-0 win over Barcelona, also to reach the Champions League final.
Even Willian, who has helped Chelsea reach the Europa League final despite no longer being a regular starter, was left off. As was Vinicius Jr., the young forward who made a splash with Real Madrid this season.
“It is the first time in a while that a Brazil list is a topic for debate. That is positive. We have great diversity, several alternatives for each position,” said former Barcelona defender Edmilson, a 2002 World Cup champion with Brazil. “But obviously some of these options need more time to mature, and that will only come by playing for Brazil. We will see a nice mix in Copa America,” he added.
Tite has said he has not yet decided if Neymar will continue to be the captain.
“I want to have a conversation with him first,” Tite said.