Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has added Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Fred to the small list of those certain to make his World Cup squad.
The Selecao will go in search of their sixth world title when the tournament returns to Brazil this year.
Felipao says “leaders” Silva, Luiz and Fred are assured of a place in his final 23-man group.
"My chosen leaders are David Luiz, Julio César and Fred," he told an event at Universidade Sao Judas Tadeu. "I had already chosen them and I've been talking to them a little more during some trips. I have no doubts about my final list, but I will wait until the end of the leagues.
"I could have some last-minute problems, like [Napoli's] Henrique, who was in an accident. Not even [Carlos Alberto] Parreira, [Flavio] Murtosa or the chairman [Jose Maria Marin, CBF president] know about the final list, but we shouldn't have many surprises. You [the journalists] would probably guess 22 out of the 23."
Scolari also insisted that he has no doubts over the form of Neymar, who has been plagued by injuries, fluctuating form and off-the-field problems in his first season at Barcelona.
"Neymar will be very well received on the national team," the World Cup winner stated. "My analysis of Neymar is very different from that of some Spanish critics.
"The moment his club is going through right now is not good but Brazil's style of play is very different."
Scolari will confirm his World Cup squad on May 7.
- Sports & Recreation
- David Luiz
- Thiago Silva