• Home
  • /
  • Football
  • /
  • The Bizarre Reasons Why Neymar, Thiago Silva And Marcelo Aren't In Brazil's Copa America Squad

The Bizarre Reasons Why Neymar, Thiago Silva And Marcelo Aren't In Brazil's Copa America Squad

Gavan Casey
By Gavan Casey
Share this article

Brazil enter the 2016 Copa America as near-favourites despite a ramshackle, samba-less couple of years, with a weak group containing Peru, Ecuador and Haiti likely to catapult them into the latter stages of the competition.

Dunga's side, however, arrive in the USA without three of their most established - and frankly, best - players, all three of whom have enjoyed vintage seasons for their respective clubs. If you're tuning into this year's Copa after last year's wonderful late-night entertainment, you'll likely note the absence of Neymar, Marcelo and Thiago Silva from the Brazilian lineup.

You might remember that Neymar's 2015 Copa America campaign ended not dissimilar to Zinedine Zidane's 2006 World Cup final. The Brazilian star lost his head (somewhere in Colombia defender Jeison Murillo), and was promptly shown a red card in his side's 1-0 Copa defeat last summer before allegedly dishing out a tirade of verbal abuse to the match officials post-match.

Despite initial fears that Neymar's Copa America suspension would carry to this summer's centenary tournament, he was instead forced to miss two World Cup qualifiers having served half of his four-game suspension in Chile last summer.

But why is Neymar not playing Copa America this summer?

His exclusion is perhaps the least controversial of the three; Barcelona simply don't want him to participate in both the Copa and this summer's Olympics, and so with the prospect of a home gold medal on the table, Brazil opted to spare their talisman for later in the summer.

The cases of both Thiago Silva and Marcelo, however, are far less straightforward.


The 31-year-old Silva is still widely regarded by many as one of the world's best central defenders. Despite outstanding form for PSG this season, the former Selecao captain was omitted from this summer's Copa squad, much to the bewilderment of club teammate Lucas Moura, and more notably, the Brazilian public.


Having suffered injury problems following his side's World Cup capitulation to Germany - a game for which Silva was suspended - he was unavailable for Dunga's first couple of squad selections, thus losing his captain's armband to Neymar. This was a decision which he publicly questioned:

[Neymar] didn't come and speak to me. No one did. That's what's annoying. I can't pretend I'm happy. It's a sad, painful moment... like they took something away from me.

However, much had been made of Silva's tears during Brazil's World Cup last 16 tie with Chile a year previous, with the supposedly inspirational captain allegedly refusing point blank to take a penalty and looking away, sobbing, as his side progressed by a Julio Cesar fingertip. To many, including the legendary Cafu, Silva's waterworks were a symbol of an intrinsic fragility that would be gleefully exposed by the Germans in the semi-final.

All seemed fine a year later when Silva was restored to the squad - and the first team at David Luiz's expense - during last summer's Copa. Notably, however, he was not temporarily reinstated as captain in Neymar's stead during the latter's suspension, with Miranda being handed the armband for the albeit brief remainder of another disastrous major tournament.

Indeed, 59-cap Silva hasn't even featured for Brazil since that humiliating exit on penalties to Paraguay in Concepción. It was his clumsy handball which was penalised to allow the Paraguayans to force extra time and spotters, sparking an epidemic of unfortunate memes in Silva's honour.


Silva's former Milan teammate Robinho, then-Chelsea left-back Filipe Luis and current Bayern winger Douglas Costa visibly turned on their once long-serving captain at the conclusion of the extra half-hour, and he hasn't worn the famous canarinho shirt since.

Marcelo's story is somewhat similar; Dunga simply doesn't like the cut of his jib. There was much derision when the marauding left-back wasn't included in the Selecao squad for March's World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Paraguay and Uruguay despite being fit to play for his club at the time, sparking a public argument between leading figures in both Brazil and Madrid.


Zinedine Zidane spoke of 'lies' coming from the Brazil camp when Dunga claimed Real Madrid preferred for Marcelo to remain in Spain, but Dunga later cited bizarre reasons for not including the Real Madrid left-back in his national team set-up, claiming the 28-year-old hadn't informed the Brazil camp that he was fit to play:

We did not speak [before the squad was named]. We have [each others'] numbers. He did not tell the doctors anything about feeling good and the doctors said nothing to me. It is about being responsible. Every Monday, Thursday or Friday I am told if any player who is going to be called up has any physical issue.

I used the information I had. Players like [Roberto] Firmino and Ricardo Oliveira were in touch with the doctor. That is important. A player who wants to be with the Brazil team must show the right attitude, responsibility and commitment. You must want to play for your national team.

A couple of weeks later, the 1994 World Cup-winning captain told Brazil's SporTV that his problems with Marcelo stemmed back as far as a 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Chile last October, when Marcelo had cited a lack of suitable preparation time for his side's poor showing. Dunga said:

He cannot do whatever he wants, just because he is a good player. He must be careful about what he says. There are players who are hurting themselves because they create headlines which are not true.

Apart from his technical ability, a player must be committed and behave well. I will not say everything here, you just have to look at what happened after the Chile game, just after our arrival, and then you can understand everything.

Lord knows what the Brazilian Eamonn Dunphy would make of it all, and there are probably quite a few of them. It remains to be seen if potential stars such as Santos' 19-year-old poacher Gabriel Barbosa can make the yellow jersey their own in the States, but should Brazil falter and then fail to win gold on home soil two months later, Dunga will join a long list of legendary players whose legacies have been tarnished by odd managerial gripes.

See Also: Watch: Bruno Alves Sent Off For Absolutely Wild Kick To Harry Kane's Head... In A Friendly!


Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com