Football: Neymar gets Barca go-ahead for Olympics, not Copa

Barcelona insist that Neymar (above) needs to have adequate rest over the summer before the start of the next domestic season.
Barcelona insist that Neymar (above) needs to have adequate rest over the summer before the start of the next domestic season.PHOTO: EPA

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Brazilian superstar Neymar was on Friday given the go-ahead to play at the Olympics by his club Barcelona but was ordered not to take part in the Copa America, local media reported.

Brazil coach Dunga had been hoping to have the influential striker at both tournaments - the Copa in the United States from June 3-26 and the Rio Olympics football tournament which runs from August 4-20.

But in a letter sent to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), and seen by Globoesporte and Mundo Deportivo, European champions Barcelona insist that Neymar needs to have adequate rest over the summer before the start of the next domestic season.

The CBF refused to confirm to AFP that they had received such a request from the Spanish giants.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Neymar has proposed a solution to the impasse - he will sit out the group phase at the Copa and only play from the quarter-finals stages before heading to the Olympics.

Fifa regulations demand that clubs release players for tournaments on the the international calendar A-list which includes the Copa but not the Olympics which does not figure on the global body's international schedule.

Neymar, who is 24, would be one of the three players over the age of 23 who are allowed to feature in an Olympic football squad.