‘Neymar has to be treated like any 25-year-old kid’

Neymar is key to Brazil’s chances of glory in Russia next summer. (AP)
Updated 08 December 2017
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‘Neymar has to be treated like any 25-year-old kid’

MOSCOW: When Neymar broke down in tears in a recent press conference, it was Tite, sat alongside him, who provided a solid shoulder to cry on. Brazil’s No10 had been forced to dispel rumors of dressing room discord at Paris Saint-Germain and when Tite came to his defense, it all became too much for the former Barcelona forward. It was a rare glimpse at the relationship, and deference, the two men have for each other. 
Speaking to Arab News, Tite elaborated on the psychological issues at play when it comes to a player such as Neymar, whom he will be sure to rely on next summer as Brazil go to Russia looking to lift the trophy. 
“Neymar has to be treated like any 25-year-old kid,” Tite said. “He is a 25-year-old boy, who does not know everything, who has a lot of life ahead of him and is an idol. He is always in the news because he is among the three best players in the world. He has great media visibility and with that comes issues: Many people will love you, but others will envy you and often they will talk badly. When you get more visibility, many friends appear from nowhere and there appears a lot of jealousy and problems too.”
Meanwhile Luan, who won the Copa Libertadores last week with Gremio and will contest the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi later this month, has been spoken of as a potential back-up for the PSG forward. Tite, however, rendered such a switch impossible: “Luan plays centrally, whereas Neymar plays to the left, cutting into the middle,” he added. “It is a slightly different function, even by the physical characteristics: Luan is not a speed player, he is more about touch and articulation. He has a role more similar to that of Coutinho, which could be a possibility.”


Kashima Antlers set up reunion tie with Real Madrid in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 15 December 2018
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Kashima Antlers set up reunion tie with Real Madrid in FIFA Club World Cup

ABU DHABI: Real Madrid will face Kashima Antlers in Wednesday’s FIFA Club World Cup semifinals after the Asian champions came from behind to beat Mexico’s Guadalajara.
The AFC Champions League winners could not have made a worse start, as the Japanese club fell behind just three minutes into Saturday’s match in Abu Dhabi, with Angel Zaldivar’s header from an Isaac Brizuela cross putting the CONCACAF champions into an early lead.
Guadalajara looked the better side as the half went on, and were unlucky not to extend their lead before half-time, when Orbelin Pineda’s rocket of a shot from distance came crashing off the crossbar.
That proved to be kick-start the J-League side needed to get back into the match, who took full advantage of their good fortune after the interval when Shoma Doi raced into the box to deliver a low ball to midfielder Ryota Nagaki, who grabbed the leveller with a side-footed finish.
Kashima’s second came with twenty minutes remaining, and from the penalty spot after Nagaki drew a clumsy foul in the box from Guadalajar’s Michael Perez.
Serginho tucked away the resulting penalty and Kashima must have thought the game was done and dusted as they doubled their advantage with an exceptional curling shot from Hiroki Abe six minutes from time.
But there was late drama to come when VAR had to be used to award the Mexican side a late spot-kick.
Kwoun Sun-Tae made a fine save to deny Alan Pulido, but was unlucky to see the ball turned into his own net by Hugo Leonardo.
Kashima’s meeting with Real Madrid later this week will be a re-run of the 2016 final, which the Spanish giants won 4-2 after extra-time.
Real will traveled to the UAE after their La Liga match against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.