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Tokyo 2020 #1YearToGo

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Cartan Global | Tokyo 2020


Brazil's brightest current football star Neymar has said he hopes to help his country win its first men's Olympic football gold medal at South America's first Olympic Games next year in Rio de Janeiro.

Interviewed by, the Barcelona striker said: "I hope to be part of this group and win the title for the Brazilian people, especially since we are playing at home.

"Winning at the Maracanã would be incredible, unforgettable, and you can be sure we'll give our best on the pitch to make this happen."

Neymar's World Cup last summer ended in particularly bitter disappointment, after an injury inflicted by a Colombian defender forced him to miss Brazil's semi-final against eventual winners Germany - a match that ended with a scarcely credible 7-1 scoreline in favour of the European team.

The tournament marked the second occasion on which the five-times world champions have failed to lift the World Cup on home turf.

The Olympic men's football competition is an under-23 tournament, with three over-age players per squad permitted.

Neymar turns 23 early next month, but Alexandre Gallo, who will take charge of Brazil's Olympic squad, has indicated that he wants the player to fill one of those over-age slots.

Neymar, who was in the Brazil squad that claimed the silver medals at London 2012 after defeat by Mexico in the final, said:

"Wearing the Brazilian shirt is indescribable and every time I wear our colours it is a memorable occasion for me.

"This was especially so in London, where I first competed in the Games.

"It was something that really made a big impression on me and that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

"I already imagine myself playing in the Olympic Games in my own country - it will be a dream come true.

"I have had the opportunity to play in the Confederations Cup and the World Cup in Brazil, so now the Olympic Games is all that is missing.

"It will bring me a lot of joy."

In spite of winning five World Cups, Brazil has yet to claim gold in either the men's or the women's Olympic football competitions.

Five times, Brazilian teams of one gender or another have had to settle for silver after losing Olympic finals; on two further occasions, Brazil's men have come away with bronze medals.

Arch-rivals Argentina, by contrast, already have two Olympic football titles under their belts, as have Luís Suárez's Uruguay.

As for other Olympic sports, Neymar said he was keen to see Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in action, adding: "I am a big fan of his."

He went on: "I also want to see Brazil compete in volleyball, basketball, swimming and judo.

"But what I am most looking forward to is the feel of the Games at the Olympic Village.

"In London we didn't stay with the other athletes and I think the atmosphere must be very different.

"I admire many Brazilian athletes and it will be marvellous to share this experience with them."

It is customary for Olympic football matches to be played in a variety of cities around the host country.

In addition to Rio, games at Rio 2016 will be played in Salvador, Brasília, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.