Copa America 2019: Top 5 Brazilian Stars who did not make the squad
Copa America 2019, the premier South American continental tournament and the oldest continental tournament in the world, will kick off its 49th edition in June, with 5-time World Champions Brazil playing hosts. Neymar-led Brazil is the highest FIFA-ranked side (No.3) in the tournament and are hot favorites to lift what will be their 9th title, with the expectation from the home crowd immense on the Selecao, especially after having a disappointing 2018 FIFA World Cup where they defeated 1-2 by Eden Hazard's Belgium in the quarterfinals.
Adenor Leonardo Bacchi or 'Tite' as he is affectionately called, took over as Brazil manager in June 2016 after Dunga's second tenure as the Selecao manager ended in disaster with Brazil embarassingly getting eliminated in the group stages of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
One of the most well-respected coaches in Brazil, Tite attained immortal status by leading Corinthians to the Copa Libertadores and the FIFA Club World Cup (by defeating Chelsea in the final) in 2012.
Despite the quarterfinal exit in the 2018 World Cup, the CBF (Brazilian Football Federation) has kept faith with the 57-year-old tactician and extended his contract till the end of the year.
Tite has rebuilt the Brazil squad into a formidable force, winning 27 of his 34 games in charge, losing just 2 games and scoring an incredible 69 goals (2.02 goals per game) while conceding only 10.
Tite surprised many with his 23-man Copa squad announcement last Friday, going with players that have played regularly for the Selecao under his tutelage, disregarding in-form players like Liverpool's Fabinho and Tottenham Hotspur's Lucas Moura who have been setting the UEFA Champions League alight with their performances. In this article, we look at the Top 5 Brazilian stars who can be considered as unlucky to miss out on Tite's call, given their performances this season.
#5 Douglas Costa (Juventus)
28-year-old Juventus winger Douglas Costa was once regarded as Neymar's No.1 understudy but his place in the Brazil squad had to be surrendered to Ajax's David Neres due to his limited playing time at Turin this season.
A talented, pacy dribbler, Douglas Costa was overlooked by Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, in favour of Italian winger Federico Bernadeschi, for most of the season. Costa has always performed well when called upon by Brazil and would have offered a Plan B against teams that park the bus against the Selecao, with his direct runs and capability to outrun any offside trap.
A lack of discipline might also be a consideration, with Costa having received a four-match ban in Serie A last September after spitting at a Sassuolo player. Having started only seven games for the Turin club this season under Allegri, Costa will be relieved by the axing of the Italian manager.
A mix of injuries, indiscipline and preference of the manager for Bernadeschi resulted in the mazy winger not getting enough minutes under his belt to merit a selection from Tite.