The head coach of the Brazilian national soccer team, Tite, appointed Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar Jr. as captain of his team full time before the friendly against the United States in New Jersey on Friday night. Neymar had previously served as Brazil's captain in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but resigned that responsibility after the squad won the medal, reports Efe News. In the last two years, more than a dozen players have worn the captain's armband, with Thiago Silva, Miranda and Marcelo sharing that duty during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. "It is a great honor to be named captain, and I will do everything possible to fulfill that duty and help the team win," said Neymar, adding that he gave up that responsibility two years ago due to the enormous pressure he suffered at the time.
"It is difficult for another person to know everything that happened, not only during the Games (Olympics) but during all these years," he said.
Neymar appeared at a press conference on Thursday for the first time since Brazil was eliminated in a 2-1 loss to Belgium in the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals. After the tournament, Neymar said it was difficult to call the strength to return to action.
"I was subjected to a lot of criticism and I did not feel good," he said. "When I do not feel good, it's better to keep quiet, it's better to speak on the field, I decided to accept being a captain because I learned a lot and I will continue to learn a lot more, the responsibility will be really good for me."
Tite said of Neymar's full-time appointment that "time passes and people grow and mature."
"All the time we have been with Neymar we are facing important situations," said the coach. "He's ready to take the next step."
Brazil will play its first game since the World Cup on Friday against the USA. UU In East Rutherford, New Jersey, followed by another friendly against El Salvador on September 11 in Landover, Maryland.