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Tite Confirms Neymar Is Brazil's New Captain on a Full-Time Basis

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2018

Brazil's coach Tite talks to Brazil's forward Neymar during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Mexico at the Samara Arena in Samara on July 2, 2018. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
EMMANUEL DUNAND/Getty Images

Brazil manager Tite has confirmed that Neymar is the country's captain on a permanent basis again. 

In the buildup to the 2018FIFA World Cup and at the tournament itself, the coach took the unusual step of rotating the armband, giving different members of the squad the chance to lead the side out.

However, speaking about the captaincy ahead of the team's meeting with the United States on Friday, Tite said Neymar is ready to lead the side on a full-time basis, per Selecao Brasileira:

Seleção Brasileira @BrazilStat

TITE: "I announce the end of the rotation policy for the captain's armband. #Neymar has gained a lot of maturity in the past few years, I know that he is ready to exercise this [new] function." https://t.co/JDVTHeefNy

Speaking about the honour, the Paris Saint-Germain forward said he feels as though he's well placed for this extra responsibility, per Sacha Pisani of Goal.

"I accepted again because I've learned a lot, and I will learn much more," Neymar said. "And this responsibility will be a good thing to me. ... My responsibility is even bigger due to the captaincy, but if you don't play [good] football, there's no need of it."

B/R Football @brfootball

Tite has confirmed @neymarjr is now Brazil’s permanent captain 🇧🇷 https://t.co/FNteS3m6nU

The Brazil captaincy is a role that Neymar held previously, but following the Selecao's win at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he decided to relinquish the armband.

Neymar does appear to be the natural choice to captain the team as they build towards the 2019 Copa America. As Goal UK highlighted, only two Selecao icons have been more prolific than the forward: 

Goal UK @GoalUK

Neymar has now scored 56 goals in 87 matches for Brazil; only Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) have scored more #BRA https://t.co/WmdDuEXo60

While Neymar is undoubtedly Brazil's attacking talisman, he didn't enjoy the best of World Cups.

Having suffered an injury in February, the forward missed the end of the domestic season for PSG and only returned to action during Brazil's preparations for the World Cup. Despite looking sharp in some of the warmup matches, he wasn't at full tilt at the tournament.

Neymar also drew criticism from some because of his histrionics, with some fans left frustrated by the manner in which he exaggerated contact in tackles and take time out of the game. As BBC Sport noted, he spent a lot of time on the ground:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

14 minutes. According to a tweet that's how long Neymar has spent on the ground during the #WorldCup. That's not the only tweet which has caught our eye. Here are some of the best ➡ https://t.co/9si99Oib3v #bbcworldcup https://t.co/wljmy9Oxrx

If the forward is going to be a leader for his team, the manager will surely be looking for him to cut out those antics, even though Neymar's talent means he is regularly in line for rough treatment from opposition defenders.

Neymar may not be a traditional captain in the sense of commitment and application, although he is more than capable of leading by example when on the field. The PSG man can inspire team-mates with his work on the ball in the final third and will seek to set the tone for this side ahead of the Copa on home soil next summer.

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