London: Neymar, the star striker in Brazil’s Olympic team, has suggested that Team GB will be weakened without David Beckham but expressed his own personal disappointment at the former England captain’s absence.
Brazil play Team GB at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium tomorrow in what is their final warm-up game before the start of the Olympics next week yet the issue of Beckham’s exclusion has remained a major talking point even amongst opposition squads.
"When Beckham was not selected I was a little happy and a little sad,”
said Neymar. “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, so I would have liked to have played against him one time. It would have been something I could have told my children.”
Neymar has been a long-term transfer target of Chelsea and, while he revealed that he would eventually like to move to a major European league, he remains committed in the short-term to playing his club football in Brazil with Santos.
"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,” he said. “It is my dream to play in Europe one day but not now.”
One Brazilian who will be competing next season in the Premier League is Oscar, who is a team-mate of Neymar in the Olympic squad. Oscar, a midfield playmaker, has undergone a medical at Chelsea ahead of a prospective £25 million move.
“I am very happy for him and he also is very happy,” said Neymar. “He is one of the most intelligent players I have played with. I think he has everything to be a big success (in England). He has the ability and intelligence to play anywhere.”
Chelsea have also already signed Eden Hazard and Marko Marin this summer but would still like to add two more players, a striker and a right-back.
Roberto de Matteo, the new Chelsea manager, will assess his squad during the current pre-season tour of the United States, with Romelu Lukaku, Gael Kakuta, Kevin de Bruyne and Josh McEachran all potentially still likely to be loaned out for more regular first-team football. Chelsea, though, are open to offers for Florent Malouda who has joined up with the squad following his involvement in Euro 2012 with France.
BDST: 2016 HRS, July 19, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor