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France World Cup star eyes 2024 Paris Olympics

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Antoine Griezmann, a star striker on France’s World Cup team, sounds like he wants an over-age spot on France’s 2024 Olympic soccer team.

“I would really like that, and that could be a dream. I experienced the Euros in France [in 2016] and it was the ultimate blast,” Griezmann replied to a question from five-time French Olympic biathlon champion Martin Fourcade, according to an ESPN translation of Le Figaro report. “To experience that in 2024 at the Paris Games, I’d sign up for that now. It would be magnificent. Honestly, it could be one of the objectives for the end of my career.”

France hasn’t qualified for an Olympic men’s soccer tournament since 1996, but it should receive automatic entry into Paris 2024 as the host nation.

Current Olympic men’s soccer rules would allow three players per nation born before Jan. 1, 2001.

Host nations recently used those spots on Neymar for Brazil in 2016 and Ryan Giggs for Great Britain in 2012.

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James Rodríguez will miss Rio Olympics, reports say

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Real Madrid playmaker James Rodríguez will not be part of Colombia’s Olympic soccer team, according to Spanish media quoting the president of the Colombia soccer federation.

Rodríguez, the leading scorer with six goals at the 2014 World Cup, is expected to play June’s Copa América Centenario, which his club team must release him for if Colombia so chooses.

Real Madrid does not have to release Rodríguez for the Olympics.

The situation is similar to that of Brazilian star Neymar, who is playing the Olympics but not Copa América Centenario after consultation with his club team, FC Barcelona.

Colombia’s men’s soccer team qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 1992 by winning a home-and-home playoff against the U.S.

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Neymar will play Olympics, not Copa America

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Neymar will play for Brazil at the Olympics in August but not Copa America Centenario in June, according to Barcelona and confirmed by Brazil’s soccer federation, according to Brazilian media.

“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, to be held from August 3 to 21, and not at the Copa America in the United States from June 3 to 26,” the Spanish club said in a statement Wednesday.

Barcelona controls Neymar’s rights for the Olympics but not Copa America Centenario and has said Neymar can play in one of the two tournaments, but not both. The club wants to keep its prized striker healthy and rested for its matches.

That left the decision on which tournament in the hands of Brazil’s soccer federation, which controls Neymar’s rights for Copa America.

Brazil’s federation prefers Neymar to play in the Olympics over Copa America but wanted him for both tournaments.

The Olympics are important for Brazil and for Neymar, since the nation is hosting the Games for the first time and has never won Olympic soccer gold.

Neymar led the 2012 Olympic silver-medal winning squad for Brazil.

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