Neymar confirms he chose to represent Brazil and the Olympic Games and not the Copa America, and the dilemma ‘ended well’ with Barcelona.
Barca wanted Neymar to have a summer break and play only one of the international tournaments, while Brazil at one point hoped to have their captain in both, but the forward explained on TV in his homeland the call was his.
“It was more or less my choice. Barca didn’t want me to play both competitions and asked me to pick one. I chose the Olympics with [Gilmar Rinaldi, co-ordinator of the Brazil teams] and Dunga [the-then Coach],” Neymar revealed, AS reports.
“Sometimes you have friction with your club but with Barcelona it all ended well. They let me pick which championship and I opted for the Olympics.”
Brazil have never claimed an Olympic gold medal for football but Argentina have, Lionel Messi winning in 2008, and Neymar discussed his club colleague and his decision to quit international football after losing the Copa America.
“Football without Messi and Messi without football is not something that should be combined. Everyone who likes football wants to see the best on the pitch,” he continued.
“When I came to Barca and I saw Messi or later, Luis Suarez, I felt like I was in a video game. It’s hard to take when your idols are in the same place as you.
“Do I speak Catalan? No. I understand a lot, but can only say a few words. It’s a mixture of French and Spanish.”