'Neymar is essential but not irreplaceable' - Brazil not reliant on PSG star, insists manager Tite

Goal.com

Neymar is an "essential" member of the current Brazil squad, but he is not "irreplaceable", according to Tite.

At the age of 28, Neymar has already amassed an impressive 101 caps for his country, while rising to third in the Selecao's all-time top scorers list on 61 goals, behind Pele and Ronaldo.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar has played in two World Cups for Brazil, helping them reach the semi-finals in 2014 and the last eight in 2018, but he has only ever won one trophy at international level - the 2013 Confederations Cup.

He missed the chance to double his haul last summer after suffering an ankle injury which ruled him out of the Copa America, as Brazil stormed to a first continental title in 12 years in his absence.

Neymar has put that disappointment behind him to play a key role in PSG's latest bid for glory on both European and domestic fronts.

The mercurial attacker has been heavily linked with a return to Barcelona throughout his time at Parc des Princes, while expressing regret over his world-record move from Camp Nou in 2017.

However, he has seemed fully focused on his duties in the French capital this season, contributing 18 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions.

Neymar was on course to return to the Brazil squad for the 2020 Copa America, but the tournament has now been pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tite is eager to point out that his team are able to cope without their star performer, but admits that the world's most expensive player brings "unpredictability" which raises the "collective" standards within the group.

"Neymar reassures you, because he brings unpredictability to your game" the Brazil head coach told France Football

"Because he will offer you an individual or collective solution that others cannot, and with him, the potential of a team is not the same, because he will sparkle. The Neymar I am speaking of is the one who was within full mental and physical capacities.

"Neymar is essential, but not irreplaceable.”

Tite has been in charge of Brazil since 2016, and boasts an impressive 70% win rate from his 48 games on the touchline, but he faced plenty of criticism after his side's last eight exit at the hands of Belgium at the World Cup in Russia two years ago.

The Copa America triumph helped make up for that failure, with the 58-year-old adding about the pressure he faces while leading the world's most successful international side: "The position has become very exposed, the responsibility is immense and each coach is faced with the same challenge."

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