By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It’s been less than two months since Brazil’s Seleção‘s disappointing exit from the 2018 World Cup, but for the team’s manager, the time has come to add new faces to a roster that had started to show some age.
In announcing his squad for the team’s upcoming friendlies in the U.S., Tite added several new faces to the squad including Lucas Paquetá, Hugo, Dedé, Felipe, Fabinho, Andreas Pereira, and Everton.
“I tried to be as fair as possible. My responsibility is with the Seleção, but I also have to look the other way,” explained the manager regarding how he reconciled the needs of the national team with the club teams. “I tried to balance this by calling only one from each team. I have to give the opportunity to the athletes who deserve this,” he said.
“I try to be polite and ethical, but not politically correct.”
The Campeonato Brasileiro Série A saw several of its key players receive call-ups to the national team. A reserve in Russia, Flamengo‘s Lucas Paquetá is expected to play a big role in the future of the Seleçao. Tite tapped the 20-year-old attacking midfielder who is in the midst of a breakthrough season in the Brasileirão with five goals at the midway point.
Also receiving a call-up and having plenty of success in the Brasileirão is Fluminense striker Pedro. The current scoring leader in the Série A with ten goals, the 21-year-old forward has shown he is more than ready to join the national team.
Other players from the Brasileirão who will be joining the Seleção are Dedé (Cruzeiro), Fagner (Corinthians), and Everton (Grêmio).
Even with the numerous additions, Tite did retain a number of established veterans, including Neymar Jr., Thiago Silva, and Willian. Thirteen of the 23-man squad that went to Russia remain with the club.
The Seleçao returns to the pitch to face the United States on September 7th in Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, and El Salvador on September 11th at FedExField in Maryland.
The friendlies against the U.S. and El Salvador are tune-ups for the 2019 Copa América taking place in Brazil in June 2019.