Copa America 2016

Free Neymar from Brazil skipper role, says Alberto

RIO DE JANEIRO • Brazil's 1970 World Cup-winning captain Carlos Alberto has urged new national coach Tite to relieve Neymar of the team's captaincy.

The Barcelona forward was named captain by former coach Dunga when he took charge of the Brazil team for a second time after the 2014 World Cup Finals.

But Alberto said Tite, who replaced Dunga this week after Brazil's shock group-stage elimination from the Copa America Centenario, should make a change.

"If I was the national coach, the first thing I would do would be to ask Neymar to have the humility to return the captain's armband so the coach can choose another player," Carlos Alberto was quoted as saying by the Sambafoot news portal.

"It does not suit him to be captain. Pele was never captain. Neither was Garrincha or Ronaldo, Rivaldo or Nilton Santos. Why does Neymar have to be captain of the national team?"

Neymar, who missed the Copa America after his club Barcelona refused to release him for the tournament in the United States, has been criticised for his recent international performances, which have been marked by ill discipline and a lack of goals.

NOT FIT FOR THE JOB

It does not suit him to be captain. Pele was never captain. Neither was Garrincha or Ronaldo, Rivaldo or Nilton Santos.

CARLOS ALBERTO, former Brazil captain, comparing Neymar to the Selecao's former leading lights.

The 24-year-old was replaced as captain during the continental tournament by Inter Milan centre-back Miranda.

"It would be better to let Neymar play and free him from the responsibility of leading the group," Alberto said. "Leave him free to just think about playing football. He would do more for the team than he has done. I would leave Miranda as captain."

Even though Neymar is clearly Brazil's most marketable player, Alberto said the Brazilian football federation should make their stance clear and ensure that Tite does not bear full responsibility for the decision.

"In Dunga's time, the national team did not have leadership both on or off the pitch," he said. "Taking the armband away from Neymar cannot just be a decision for the coach."

Tite has declined to confirm if he would keep Neymar on as the Selecao's skipper.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Free Neymar from Brazil skipper role, says Alberto'. Print Edition | Subscribe