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Hulk a surprise inclusion as Brazil call up 9 new players with Euro club boycott looming

Manager Tite faces the prospect of losing 15 of his original group of 25 players.

Atletico Mineiro's Hulk.
Atletico Mineiro's Hulk.
Image: Yuri Edmundo

BRAZIL COACH TITE on Friday called up nine new players to his squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers as European clubs insisted they will not release stars over coronavirus quarantine rules.

English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese leagues all support the right of their clubs not to release players to countries considered to have a high Covid-19 risk.

It means Tite faces the prospect of losing 15 of his original group of 25 players.

Two of the nine players called up on Friday ply their trade in one of the four leagues – Real Madrid forward Vinicius and midfielder Matheus Nunes of Sporting Lisbon.

Brazil’s football federation (CBF) said it “is not de-selecting any player from these September matches. However, given the uncertainty of the availability of players, in particular from the United Kingdom, and in the absence of an effective decision, we have decided to call up more players to the original list,” said Juninho Paulista, the national team coordinator.

“Our preparation begins in three days. We repeat: the qualifiers for us are already the World Cup, which is why we cannot wait any longer” to find out which players from the original squad will be available.

Amongst the nine new players called up for matches against Chile on 2 September, Argentina on 5 September  and Peru on 9 September, is veteran forward Hulk, who won the most recent of his 48 international caps in 2016.

Brazil faces the prospect of losing key players like Liverpool’s Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, Manchester City pair Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Thiago Silva of Chelsea, and Manchester United’s Fred.

However, star forward Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain should line-up against his new club teammate Lionel Messi when Brazil play Argentina in Sao Paulo.

Players from red-list countries could be forced to spend time in quarantine when they return from international duty to play for their European clubs.

It would mean they could miss Champions League fixtures as well as league encounters and the four European leagues have decided to back their clubs’ desire to block players from leaving.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday urged clubs to “show solidarity” with national teams, but stopped short of detailing potential sanctions against those that refuse.

Brazil squad additions:

Goalkeepers: Everson (Atletico Mineiro), Santos (Athletico)

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Defenders: Miranda (Sao Paulo)

Midfielders: Edenilson (Internacional), Gerson (Marseille/FRA), Matheus Nunes (Sporting/POR)

Forwards: Hulk (Atletico Mineiro), Malcom (Zenit/RUS), Vinicius (Real Madrid/ESP)

 © – AFP, 2021 

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