Neymar celebrates scoring for Brazil.
Neymar celebrates scoring for Brazil. Nelson Antoine

Neymar to miss Brazil's trip down under

BRAZIL will be docked about $2 million after leaving superstar Neymar out of the upcoming Melbourne tour.

Fans will be left disappointed after paying top dollar for the June 9 MCG blockbuster, billed as the Messi v Neymar showdown.

But Argentina megastar Lionel Messi is a confirmed visitor after he was named in Argentina's full-strength travelling squad that includes Juventus stars Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain and PSG's Angel Di Maria.

Juventus's Daniel Alves, Real Madrid's Marcello and Liverpool attacker Roberto Firmino have also been left out, with Reds teammate Philippe Coutinho, David Luiz (Chelsea) and Thiago Silva (PSG) headlining the Brazil squad.

Having already secured World Cup qualification, Brazil coach Tite's stocks are high and he flexed his muscle by resting his captain despite the Brazilian federation's undertakings that Neymar would travel.

It is understood that about $2 million in match fees are now at risk after the State Government safeguarded itself after a host of superstar no-shows in last year's International Champions Cup.

Aware of the furore caused, Tite fronted the press conference alongside his conditioning coach to stress the importance of resting Neymar who not had an off-season break since 2010.

"I do what is best for the Brazil team," Tite said.

"We need to preserve the players who are at the end of the European season.

"But there is no such thing as a friendly against Argentina."

 

Lionel Messi playing for Argentina in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia.
Lionel Messi playing for Argentina in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia. Natacha Pisarenko

Tour organisers, TEG's Geoff Jones and TLA Worldwide's Bart Campbell released a joint statement expressing their disappointment.

"We are disappointed that Neymar Jr will not be playing, as we have had assurances and undertakings that both teams would be bringing their best available squads," they said.

"Despite this omission there is still a plethora of international stars proudly representing their national teams. We hope that the fans will enjoy the once-in-a-generation encounter.

"We are delighted to confirm that Lionel Messi, one of the greatest ever footballers, will be returning to MCG to headline one of the oldest and most prestigious world football derbies."

Almost 100,000 fans are still likely to get a high-octane game between the arch rivals.

Higuain and Dybala will feature for Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff just five days earlier against Real Madrid.

While he hasn't yet been unveiled, Argentina will be coached by Jorge Sampaoli, who is believed to be behind the shock axing of Sergio Aguero.

Manchester City teammate Pablo Zabaleta and China-based Ezequiel Lavezzi have also been omitted, with Sampaoli picking his strongest squad, viewing the tour as crucial preparation with Argentina's World Cup place on a knife-edge.

The former Chile boss will be unveiled once his commitments with Spaniards Seville are over.

BRAZIL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Diego Alves (Valencia), Weverton (Atletico Paranaense), Ederson (Benfica)

Defenders: Alex Sandro (Juventus), David Luiz (Chelsea), Fagner (Corinthians), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Jemerson (Monaco), Rafinha (Bayern Munich), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain)

Midfielders: Fernandinho (Manchester City), Giuliano (Zenit St Petersburg), Lucas Lima (Santos), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Renato Augusto (Beijing Gouan), Rodriguinho (Corinthians), Willian (Chelsea)

Forwards: Diego Souza (Sport), Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk)

ARGENTINA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Manchester United), Nahuel Guzman (Tigres), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad)

Defenders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Emanuel Mammana (Lyon), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Eduaro Salvio (Benfica), Lucas Rodrigo Biglia (Lazio), Ever Banega (Inter Milan), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United), Leandro Paredes (Roma), Guido Rodriguez (Tijuana)

Forwards: Leo Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Joaquin Correa (Sevilla), Alejandro Dario Gomez (Atalanta), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain), Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

FIXTURES

Brazil v Argentina, Friday, June 9, 8.05pm, MCG

Socceroos v Brazil, Tuesday, June 13, 8.05pm, MCG

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