Into the ring steps the current, defending champions of Olympic football: Brazil!
The Selecao are looking to retain their crown as the best football team in the Olympic village this summer, picking up the torch from Neymar’s winning spot-kick back in 2016.
The football-mad nation takes every competition they enter very seriously, and that can be noted in their squad selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Plenty of the faces which featured at the 2021 Copa America are also involved this time round, with many looking to make amends for the final defeat to Argentina.
But which stars should start for Brazil?
Santos (GK) – The 31-year-old has spent his entire career at Athletico Paranaense, but he’ll be representing Brazil at international level this summer. A great achievement.
Dani Alves (RB) – WHAT?! Alves is still going?! That’s right, the 38-year-old is still in his prime (sort of), and he can do a job anywhere on the pitch for the Selecao. Simply extraordinary.
Diego Carlos (CB) – Sevilla star Carlos should line up at the heart of Brazil’s backline this summer, adding even more elite experience alongside the evergreen Alves.
Nino (CB) – The Fluminense man will be hoping to make a big impression this summer, having never made an appearance for the senior Brazil side. Now’s your chance, son.
Guilherme Arana (LB) – A third Sevilla representative joins the backline, although like Alves, Arana has moved on to pastures new. The full-back has returned to Brazil, where he feels most comfortable.
Douglas Luiz (CM) – The Aston Villa man has really grown into an excellent holding midfielder during his time at Villa Park, and he’ll be hoping to translate that form onto the international stage.
Bruno Guimaraes (CM) – Lyon’s 2020 winter signing has kicked on this year, playing an important role in their dynamic midfield. Keep an eye on this guy.
Reinier (AM) – Fun fact: Reinier’s name reads exactly the same if you spell it backwards. Let’s hope he and his teammates work in a similarly symmetrical nature.
Malcom (RW) – The Brazilian winger’s career has not quite panned out the way we expected when he joined Barcelona in 2018, but here’s hoping Malcom lands another big move in the future.
Richarlison (ST) – Everton’s main man was key to Brazil’s run to the Copa America final, and Richarlison will be aiming to play an equally significant role in their Olympic campaign.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – Arsenal’s wonderkid has rarely been given the opportunity to show what he can do in the Premier League, but Gooners will be watching the Olympics with interest, to see whether he truly is the future of their forward line.