RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil coach Tite named on Thursday a much-changed Brazil squad for Neymar to lead in the two World Cup qualifying matches against Ecuador and Colombia.
Five players were dropped from the group which in March secured the team’s spot in Russia 2018.
Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson is one of the new names to be tested, while new Juventus winger Douglas Costa was one of the players dropped.
Tite said that his squad for the next World Cup is not yet ready despite its unbeaten record in qualifying.
The coach, who previously praised Neymar’s record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, said that the move will not change the striker’s chances of winning a Ballon D’Or.
“There are three players fighting for that position: Cristiano, Messi and Neymar. Cristiano and Messi are from a different generation, and Neymar will get there. That will depend on his performances, not on whether he plays with Messi,” Tite said.
Brazil leads South American World Cup qualifiers with 33 points after 14 games. They will play sixth-placed Ecuador on Aug.31 in Porto Alegre and second-placed Colombia away on Sep.5.
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma), Cassio (Corinthians) and Ederson (Manchester City).
Defenders: Rodrigo Caio (São Paulo), Miranda (Inter Milan), ), Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Daniel Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Fagner (Corinthians), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid) and Marcelo (Real Madrid).
Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Willian (Chelsea), Luan (Gremio) and Giuliano (Zenit).
Strikers: Taison (Shakhtar), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (PSG) and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).