Brazil coach Tite has insisted he would never risk the health of star man Neymar after selecting him in his team to face Costa Rica on Friday.
The Paris St Germain striker, who missed three months of football earlier this year with a fractured metatarsal, set alarm bells ringing when he limped out of training with an ankle problem on Tuesday.
However, Tite has named him in an unchanged side for his side’s second Group E fixture and is adamant he would not have done so if it were a gamble.
Asked if Neymar would be playing if it were not the World Cup finals, he told a press conference: “Yes, yes. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s an evolutionary process, you just speed up the steps. Yes, he would be playing. It’s not a sacrifice.
“We want to win, it’s a World Cup, but the coach is not going to risk a player’s health by being dishonest to him. That’s a price that’s too high to pay.
“Those values of health and honesty, no way, there’s no compromise.”
Tite also played down suggestions that he had pulled Neymar to one side in the wake of Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland to implore him to be more of a team player rather than an individual.
He said: “Absolutely not. The information you got is not true, it’s not true. It didn’t happen.
“All the players have the responsibility of playing for the collective and also being individuals, some with some specific characteristics.
“Neymar, I’m not going to take away from him this initiative in the last third of the pitch. He’s a genius. You have my word, this is not true.
“We all have to work as a team, but we have to respect the characteristics. In the last third of the pitch, you have to create possibilities for the finish. I’m not going to take that away from anybody.”
Meanwhile, defender Thiago Silva will captain Brazil in Friday’s game with Marcelo having worn the armband against the Swiss.
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