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Neymar back to Brazil for World Cup qualifiers

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RIO DE JANEIRO: Neymar will rejoin Brazil for 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia in his first international duty since being transferred in a record setting deal from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, national coach Tite said Thursday.

Rested for the June friendlies -- a 1-0 loss to Argentina and a 4-0 defeat of Australia -- the 25-year-old striker will be alongside three of his new PSG teammates: Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Daniel Alves.

Tite said the drama over Neymar´s transfer "changes absolutely nothing" for the Brazilian team.

Neymar "is looking for new challenges, but the important thing is that he be happy to play football, that he adapts well and evolves to a new level," Tite said.

The coach said Barcelona and PSG have "a similar tactical formation of 4-3-3."

The main change to the Brazilian squad is the arrival of talented midfielder Luan Vieira, 24, who was in the Olympic gold medal winning team at Rio 2016. He currently plays for Gremio in Brazil but is bound for Spartak Moscow.

After some torrid years, Brazil look back to their best, knocking Germany from the top of the FIFA rankings and in March becoming the first country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. During his time in charge, Tite has eight victories out of eight in competitive matches.

Brazil play Ecuador on August 31 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and go to Barranquilla in Colombia on September 5.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Roma/ITA), Cassio (Corinthians), Ederson (Mnchester City/ENG)

Defenders: Daniel Alves (Paris SG/FRA), Fagner (Corinthians), Filipe Luis (Atlético de Madrid/ESP), Marcelo (Real Madrid/ESP), Miranda (Inter Milan/ITA), Marquinhos (Paris SG/FRA), Thiago Silva (Paris SG/FRA), Rodrigo Caio (São Paulo)

Midfielders: Casemiro (Real Madrid/ESP) Fernandinho (Manchester City/ENG), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande/CHN), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan/CHN), Willian (Chelsea/ENG), Giuliano (Zenith/RUS), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/ENG), Luan (Gremio)

Strikers: Neymar (Paris SG/FRA), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City/ENG), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool/ING), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk/UCR).


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