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Barcelona star to skip Copa America in favour of Olympics in Brazil

Neymar will play for Brazil at the Olympics in his homeland this summer, but as a result will not feature in the Copa America.

The 24-year-old had wanted to play in both tournaments, but Barcelona had put forward an argument that they didn’t want him to be away on international duty for so long which in turn would hamper their own preparations for next season.

The 2016 Copa America celebrates 100 years of CONMEBOL and the tournament itself, and will be played outside of South America for the first time with the USA playing host.

While that runs from June 3 to June 26, the Olympics is scheduled for August 5 to August 21, and so naturally Barca’s concerns are warranted as they would effectively be without one of their main stars all summer and in the build-up to pre-season.

“FC Barcelona expresses its gratitude to the Brazilian Football Confederation and its president Marco Polo del Nero for accepting the Club’s proposal for Neymar Jr to only play at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer, and not at the Copa America in the United States,” the club said in a statement.

Brazil have been drawn in Group A in the Olympics, and will face South Africa, Iraq and Denmark in their bid to qualify for the knockout stages.

Neymar will of course feature as one of the three over-23 players permitted by the regulations, with Dunga hoping to oversee a successful campaign after their bid to win the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 ended in embarrassing fashion.

The Selecao will hope to have learned lessons from that tournament and repair the damage done, albeit under less pressure, and they will be desperate to give the country plenty to cheer about as they look forward to hosting the Olympics for the first time.

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