Neymar’s name is one often linked with speculation and rumour. Being one of the darling boys of Barcelona and quite literally the face of Brazilian football will do that do you.
The latest batch of gossip coming from Spain, however, might surprise even the most well-versed of football followers. Spanish newspaper Marca are claiming that Barcelona could stop him from playing in this summer’s Copa America.
Yes, you did read that correctly. The publication cites an unwillingness on Barca’s part to see one of their brightest stars compete in two international tournaments this summer - he’s already supposedly set to lead Brazil at the Olympics.
This summer’s Copa America is set to be a special one, which makes the idea of Neymar not being there rather disheartening. South America’s premier international competition will play out for the 100th time, with the United States serving as the host nation.
Of course, the Olympic games are being hosted by Neymar’s home country of Brazil, meaning that he’s virtually guaranteed to be the poster-boy on that front as well.
Peculiar as it is, Marca seem to think that Barca could well throw their weight around in a bid to get what they want. A letter could be sent to the CFB (Confederation of Football Brazil) informing them of the Catalan club’s decision, and once that horse bolts there might well be no turning back.
So, a blow for neutral fans the world over, and a definite blow for Brazil, but also a rather painful sting in the backside for the Copa America tournament organisers, who have featured Neymar heavily in their advertisement campaigns thus far.