Today, the provisional list for Brazil’s Olympic squad was revealed and, as expected, Palmeiras striker Gabriel Jesus was on it. But not only him: also alviverde keeper Fernando Prass was called up, his first time in the Brazilian national team, at the age of 37. “This is a dream coming true”, he stated, sharing his surprise but also acknowledging his impressive form and decisive moments at Palmeiras in the last year or so. Olympic squad coach Rogério Micale explained that Prass’ leadership and abilities, not least shown in penalty shootouts, had rendered him the spot: an indication Prass might very well carry the captain’s armband during the competition.
In fact, Prass will become the oldest football player to defend Brazil in Olympic Games: he turns 38 next month and by a wide margin will surpass previous record holder Bebeto, 32 at the time of his participation in the 1996 Atlanta campaign.
Palmeiras are likely to see a third player make it to the Olympics: Colombian fullback Yerry Mina, the youngster today joining the Palmeiras squad post Copa América.
Although palmeirenses were excited about Prass and Jesus making the list (abundant good-luck wishes to both on social media) there were equal amounts of concern. The Brazilian championship will carry on as normal during the Olympic games, meaning team captain Prass and top scorer Gabriel (16 braces so far in 2016) will miss six rounds of the Brasileirão: Atlético-MG (home), Botafogo (away), Chapecoense (away), Vitória (home), Atlético-PR (away) e Ponte Preta (home). Perhaps this will mark the return of young and speedy Erik into Cuca’s starting eleven. Our coach has some thinking and testing to do.
Below, the complete list, to be confirmed by 14 July.
Goalkeepers: Fernando Prass (Palmeiras), Uilson (Atlético-MG)
Defenders: Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Rodrigo Caio (São Paulo), Zeca (Santos), Douglas Santos (Atlético-MG), Luan (Vasco), William (Internacional)
Midfielders: Rafinha Alcântara (Barcelona), Rodrigo Dourado (Internacional), Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Thiago Maia (Santos), Felipe Anderson (Lazio)
Forwards: Neymar (Barcelona), Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras), Gabriel (Santos), Luan (Grêmio)
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!