Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar has told his club team, Barcelona, that he wants to play in the Olympics and Copa America Centenario next summer, according to O Globo.
Neymar may be the 2016 Olympic host nation’s most famous potential Olympian, but there is at least some question of whether he will suit up at the Rio Games.
Copa America Centenario takes place from June 3-26. Soccer at the 2016 Olympics takes place from Aug. 3-20. Neymar plays for Barcelona in La Liga, whose season usually begins in late August. That would be a busy summer of national team duty, which may not sit well with Barcelona.
In 2012, FIFA ordered club teams to allow its players to compete in the Olympics. In 2008, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Barcelona did not have to release Lionel Messi to compete in the Olympics, though Messi did end up winning gold with Argentina anyway.
In May, Brazil national team coach Dunga, who is also the under-23 Olympic team coach after the firing of Alexandre Gallo, said Neymar’s participation in the Rio Olympics was dependent on talks with Barcelona, according to O Globo.
Olympic soccer teams are made up of players aged 23 and under. There’s also an option of having three over-age players, which is where Neymar would come in.
Some nations take greater advantage of the Olympic rule that allows three over-age players more than others. In 2012, Brazil used its exceptions on three exceptional players — Hulk, Marcelo and Thiago Silva — who started for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil, which has won five World Cups, has never won Olympic gold in soccer. It won silver in 1984, 1988 and 2012 and bronze in 1996 and 2008.
Neymar, then 20, was part of the 2012 Olympic team that lost to Mexico in the final.