Olympic snub robs Neymar of Beckham showdown

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Team GB will be weaker with the omission of David Beckham - that is the opinion of Brazilian sensation Neymar, who has also expressed his own personal disappointment at the former England captain's absence from this summer's 2012 London Olympics.

The 20-year-old is set to line-up for coach Mano Menezes's side in tomorrow's final warm-up game against Great Britain at the Riverside Stadium, before the start of the Games next week.

Neymar had hoped to feature against Beckham so that he could one day tell his children of the experience, but is taking solace from the LA Galaxy midfielder's absence because it should benefit Brazil in their attempts to win a first Olympic gold medal in men's football.

"When Beckham was not selected I was a little happy and a little sad," explained the Santos striker. "I was happy because he will not be competing against us so it is a little less complicated for us but I was sad because he is a great player.

"I would have liked to have played against him one time. It would have been something I could have told my children."

Brazil will kick off their Olympic campaign against Egypt on Thursday 26 July, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, before taking on Belarus (July 29) and New Zealand (August 1) to complete their group stage fixtures.

Whilst Neymar admits he knows little about any of his forthcoming opponents, he says that expectation levels back in his homeland means that nothing less than success will be tolerated, as the tournament is perceived as the perfect practice for the next World Cup in Brazil in two years time.

"There is a great expectation at home for us to win the gold medal," he added. "It is very important because we have never won Olympic gold before so now we have a chance to make history.

"I don't know much about [Egypt] because I have never played against them, but some of my team-mates have, and they say Egypt have lots of quality.

"But our coach Mano Menezes will give us all the information we need about it and I am sure we will have a good match. Winning this tournament would show that we are on the right track for winning the 2014 World Cup."

Neymar is, without question, one of the biggest names set to play at London 2012, as the exciting forward continues to garner a reputation as one of the brightest young talents, not only in South America, but the world over.

Destined for a big-money move to Europe, Neymar has been the subject of much transfer speculation, linked with the likes of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona over the past 12 months.

And, after admitting that he would eventually like to move to a major European league, he insists he remains committed to playing his club football with Santos until the end of his current contract, which expires in 2014.

"I respect the opinions of everybody, but in my personal opinion, and the opinion of my family, my wish today is to stay at Santos, and I am very happy. It is my dream to play in Europe one day but not now."

One Brazilian who does look set to be plying his trade in the Premier League next season, though, is Oscar - a midfield playmaker on the verge of signing for Chelsea in a £25million deal.

The 20-year-old has reportedly already undergone a medical in west London with confirmation of his Stamford Bridge switch from Internacional imminent, meaning he will join the European champions after the Games.

"I am very happy for him and he also is very happy," confirmed Neymar, when asked about his Olympic squad team-mate. "He is one of the most intelligent players I have played with. I think he has everything to be a big success. He has the ability and intelligence to play anywhere."

Ganso is another player believed to be on Premier League radars this summer, with Arsenal heavily linked with a move. Arsene Wenger is yet to firm up his interest in the highly rated South American, but if he does, the Gunners are likely to face stiff competition for his signature.

"He's not told me yet if he is going to leave," Neymar is quoted by Lancenet. "If I had to talk not about the friend, but the player, I would say that everyone wants to have someone like him on the team.

"I do not know much about what is happening. I ask him not to abandon me! I hope he will not go far away from me."

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