Squads for the upcoming Copa America could look vastly different by the time the tournament comes around following its postponement.

The latest edition of the competition was scheduled to start in June, but the coronavirus pandemic has seen it pushed back 12 months.

Some veteran players might now fade from the picture before the Copa America gets under way next year, while other stars will have time to recover from injury.

There could also be some new faces on the scene, with a host of uncapped prospects given an extra campaign to break through.

We take a look at five players who might emerge between now and the tournament.

 

GABRIEL MARTINELLI (BRAZIL)

Even beyond Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and co., Brazil have a wealth of attacking talent.

Matheus Cunha and Paulinho each starred at this year's CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament and are already plying their trade in the Bundesliga, yet the nation's most outstanding prospect might reside in London.

Gabriel Martinelli is eligible for both Brazil and Italy, but the Selecao will surely move swiftly to cap-tie the striker.

Martinelli trained with Brazil last year aged 17 after starring for Ituano, and he has continued to impress in his first season at Arsenal, scoring 10 goals in all competitions.

Further progress in the coming season would give Tite something to think about.

 

CRISTIAN ROMERO (ARGENTINA)

Argentina have long had problems at centre-back, with Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi still a regular at international level.

However, head coach Lionel Scaloni could soon have greater options to choose from, with younger talents now breaking through.

Nehuen Perez might well have gone to the 2020 Copa America, having been called up for the first time late last year after promising loan spells away from Atletico Madrid, but he could soon find himself nudged back down the pecking order.

Cristian Romero appears well-placed to establish himself, having earned a €26million move from Genoa to Juventus at the start of the season, although he returned on loan to his former club, who are enduring a testing campaign.

With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci ageing, Romero should get opportunities with Juve next term - and Argentina could soon come calling.

 

DIEGO ROSSI (URUGUAY)

Uruguay continue to rely on a number of their veterans of previous tournaments, but this will have to change in the coming months and years - especially in attack.

Luis Suarez faced a race to be fit for the 2020 edition, while Edinson Cavani's club future is in doubt as his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires. Even Cristhian Stuani is now playing in Spain's second tier. All three are 33 years old.

And Diego Rossi should back himself to be in position to put pressure on that star trio in 12 months' time.

Rossi left Penarol for Los Angeles FC aged 19 and has proven an instant hit in MLS, scoring 29 goals in 68 regular-season appearances, helping his club win the 2019 Supporters' Shield.

LAFC general manager John Thorrington has spoken of "significant interest" in Rossi from Europe, and such a move would give the forward a great chance of making the grade for Uruguay.

 

JORGE CARRASCAL (COLOMBIA)

Rossi's LAFC team-mates Eddie Segura and Eduard Atuesta both appear set for first Colombia caps, but Jorge Carrascal might now have nudged to the front of that queue.

A tricky winger who debuted for Millonarios at just 16, Carrascal initially struggled after joining River Plate on loan from Ukraine's Karpaty Lviv last year.

However, Carrascal improved as the season went on, earning a permanent switch to River - and, crucially, a call-up to the Colombia Under-23s.

Representing his country at youth level for the first time since 2015, the 21-year-old scored in each of his first three games at the Pre-Olympic Tournament and started all seven matches.

A return to the River Plate XI this year could see Carrascal earn a senior Colombia call-up.


REINIER (BRAZIL)

It might seem a long shot for a player who has yet to feature for Real Madrid's first team and started only twice at the Pre-Olympic Tournament to be playing for Brazil's senior side in just over a year's time.

But Reinier will have the benefit of 12 months in the limelight at one of the world's biggest clubs.

After signing from Flamengo for €30m, Reinier netted a brace in just his third Castilla appearance - his final match before the coronavirus crisis intervened.

The pre-season will be key if the 18-year-old is to get a chance at Madrid in 2020-21, and there is no reason why he could not then do enough to catch Tite's eye.

Vinicius Junior made a big-money move from Flamengo to Madrid in 2018 and had debuted for Brazil within 12 months of his LaLiga bow. The path is clear.

Neymar remains a talisman for Brazil but head coach Tite does not fear playing without the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

Tite discussed the lavishly gifted yet divisive forward in an interview with France Football.

He believes Neymar, who moved to PSG from Barcelona in a world record move in August 2017, played the best football of his career at Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old has frequently been linked with a return to Barcelona after a pair of seasons where injuries frustrated his hopes of bringing Champions League glory to the French capital.

"Neymar is essential, but not irreplaceable," Tite said. "In each match, I ask myself the same question: how to get the best out of him, build and balance the team around him? 

"The position where I found him performing best at a club, as in the national team, was when he played in Barcelona, ​​on the left side to come [inside]. 

"In other words, starting from one side, where he worked with the environment, then using his perception of the game, his speed of reflection and execution, his capacity for improvisation, and adding his speed to it. 

"The best Neymar I saw playing was during this period. The level of play he reached then was exceptional and only [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo were above. I have never seen [Eden] Hazard, [Antoine] Griezmann or [Paul] Pogba play at this level."

Brazil emphatically showed there is life without Neymar as they claimed Copa America glory on home soil last year, despite their star man missing the tournament with an ankle injury.

Tite's side closed out a 3-1 win over Peru in the final – a victory Tite felt served to exorcise any demons remaining from their humiliating 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany as World Cup hosts in 2014.

"Winning the Copa America, at home in Brazil, was a major challenge," he said. "Especially for the players who had experienced the affront of 2014 as closely as possible - Dani Alves, Fernandinho, Thiago Silva.

"This title was all the more important since we had lost Neymar to injury just a few days before the start of the tournament. The pressure and the expectation of the supporters was considerable. Winning was, therefore, the only option available to us. 

"When you have to face Argentina with Messi, Uruguay with [Edinson] Cavani and [Luis] Suarez, or Colombia with James (Rodriguez), his absence necessarily creates more emotional instability. 

"Neymar reassures you, because he brings unpredictability to your game. Because he will offer you an individual or collective solution that the others do not have. So winning without him and resisting this pressure made the group aware of its value, yes."

Roberto Carlos revealed he would have liked Brazil star Neymar at Real Madrid a "long time ago".

Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in 2017, but has been linked with a return to Camp Nou and a possible blockbuster switch to Madrid.

Carlos, a Madrid and Brazil great, said he wanted Neymar at the Santiago Bernabeu long ago.

"If it were up to me, [Neymar] would already be here a long time ago, but life is not how one would like it," Carlos told Fox Sports Radio.

"These great players always have to play for the best clubs in the world. Real Madrid today is a reference for any player.

"Do you want to win the Champions League? Come to Real Madrid."

Carlos won four LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues with Madrid, while he was also a 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil.

Madrid's current left-back, Marcelo, has been out of favour with Brazil, with his last international appearance coming at the 2018 World Cup.

Carlos hopes the 31-year-old can eventually make a return for the national team.

"Everyone deserves a new opportunity and I think Marcelo is growing again to be the Marcelo I saw play, with joy, who does things that only he can do on the field," he said.

"I hope he returns to the national team and disputes the position with Filipe [Luis], Alex Sandro and Renan Lodi."

In a rush to venerate Pele, the relaunched New York Cosmos announced in 2013 they would be retiring the team's number 10 shirt.

The only trouble with such a tribute was that in 1977 they had already retired the jersey, so the bootlicking gesture fell rather flat.

When it comes to Brazil, for whom Pele also wore number 10, there has never been a question of standing down that number.

Rather than ceremonially wave goodbye to such an historic emblem, the 10 emblazoned across the back of yellow and green speaks of supreme South American cachet.

Ronaldinho, who turns 40 on Saturday, wore those colours and often that number with distinction across an international career that spanned almost 15 years.

Here is an attempt to rank Brazil's greatest number 10 heroes.

1. Pele

When it comes to iconic figures in Brazil, you start at Pele and work down. Pele before Ronaldo, Pele before Ayrton Senna, Pele before even Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue. A three-time World Cup winner, Pele scored over 1,000 goals across his career - a haul that to this day sparks fiery debate. There is often the argument that a player cannot be bigger than his club, yet in the case of Pele and Santos that theory can be debunked. John Lennon once claimed The Beatles were bigger than Jesus, but Pele was bigger still than The Beatles. He joined the Cosmos in the twilight of his career and was feted in the United States, where football previously held little sway.

2. Zico

Alex Ferguson once described Wayne Rooney as "the white Pele", but that description better suits Zico, talisman of the Brazil team that flirted with greatness but fell agonisingly short. The Rio-born attacking midfielder is held in reverence by those that remember him weaving his magic for the Selecao and particularly Flamengo at club level, for whom he scored over 400 goals. A free-kick master, Zico also had successful spells at Udinese and Kashima Antlers and featured consistently highly in a string of polls assessing the best players of the 21st century. He deserved a World Cup triumph but never got one.

3. Rivaldo

Rivaldo forever tainted his legacy with shameful play-acting against Turkey at the 2002 World Cup. To "do a Rivaldo" ought to mean accomplishing a spectacular piece of skill, yet to a certain generation it will always mean flinging oneself down and feigning injury. Still, what a player he was. Better with Barcelona than with his national team, it might be argued, after five dazzling years at Camp Nou. Rivaldo was outshone by Ronaldo during Brazil's 2002 World Cup triumph, and he had perhaps just hit the downward slope of his career at that point. But watch his 2001 hat-trick for Barcelona against Valencia that earned his team a Champions League place and be wowed, and 35 goals from 74 Brazil caps isn't half bad.

4. Ronaldinho

Happy birthday fella. Back in the days when his quick feet were a passport to wealth and glory, and long before his passport was a passport to prison yard kickabouts, Ronaldinho was a whirligig of a footballer, a player for whom slow-mo replays might have been designed. His trickery could be deceptive on the eye, but they knew at Paris Saint-Germain and they knew at Barcelona that a genius lurked in their midst. He shone at the 2002 World Cup – number 11 back then to Rivaldo's number 10 – and was twice a FIFA World Player of the Year. He loved partying, maybe a little too much, but Ronaldinho was never one for restraint, on or off the pitch.

5. Jair

If that name sounds familiar, it might be because Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro was named after this star of a long-bygone Brazilian era. Jair, an outstanding inside-forward of the day, had not only the number 10 on the back of his shirt in the 1950 World Cup title decider, but the weight of a nation's expectations too. The tournament format was unusual that year, but it came down to a round-robin finale between hosts Brazil and South American rivals Uruguay, who defied all expectation to snatch a 2-1 win. Jair reputedly said: "I'll take that loss to my grave." He scored bundles of goals for the likes of Vasco da Gama, Flamengo, Palmeiras and Santos, and died aged 84 in 2005.

6. Neymar

Neymar stands every chance of climbing this list. The Paris Saint-Germain and former Barcelona forward has over 100 caps and 61 goals for his country, and the 28-year-old perhaps suffers from comparisons to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Greatness beckons and is within touching distance.

7. Rivelino

Diego Maradona once described Rivelino as "one of the best ever", and the Brazilian's influence on Argentina's greatest player has always been clear. A left-footed attacking midfielder, Rivelino had magnetic close control and found routes to slalom through defences that looked impassible. He is widely credited with perfecting, if not inventing, the 'flip flap' motion designed to wrong-foot and leave defenders standing, Rivelino's mastery of that technique a clear influence of future Brazil greats including Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. He was Brazil's number 11 at the 1970 World Cup – Pele being the 10 – but then had the shirt every samba star would want for the '74 and '78 finals.

8. Marta

Sorry, who's this guy? If the name is unfamiliar, then now is enlightenment time. Marta finished ahead of Mia Hamm in a 2016 Guardian poll of experts to judge the greatest female footballer of all time. A sumptuously gifted forward, she has scored a record 17 World Cup goals and been voted FIFA's best female player six times. Her dribbling is a delight, her finishing nerveless.

9. Kaka

Last seen playing five-a-side as a publicity stunt in London, Kaka's star shone brightest in his Milan years, with a six-year San Siro spell from 2003 to 2009 seeing the attacking midfielder dazzle in Serie A and the Champions League. Four years at Real Madrid followed and he had spells towards the end of his playing life with Sao Paulo, also turning out for Orlando City in MLS. The deeply religious player won 92 caps for Brazil, scoring 29 times, and was a World Cup winner in 2002, albeit playing just 25 minutes against Costa Rica. That was in the infancy of his Brazil career, and despite his blossoming in later years, being far more involved in the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, it was his lone World Cup triumph.

10. Rai

Not the Italian public broadcaster but the former Paris Saint-Germain star, who pipped the likes of Leonardo and Juninho to make this list. Rai was a fine player who nevertheless would have been forgiven for having mixed emotions when Brazil won the 1994 World Cup. He began the tournament as captain but handed the armband over to Dunga midway through after being dropped. He was benched for the final and stayed there, with Dunga the man who lifted the trophy. In a Guardian interview in 2008, Rai reflected: "It wasn't my best moment, but the win was beautiful – Brazil's first for 24 years. It was very important for us as a people."

CONMEBOL has asked FIFA to postpone qualifying for the 2022 World Cup until September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the South American qualifiers were scheduled to begin on March 26, however, the fixtures were suspended amid the COVID-19 emergency.

Now, with the world struggling to contain the virus, South American football's governing body is eyeing a September start.

"By doing this, the confederation ensures all precautions are taken against the global and regional spread of the coronavirus, in line with the recommendations of international health authorities," CONMEBOL said in a statement following a meeting of its executive board via a video conference call on Thursday.

In the opening round of qualifying, Copa America champions Brazil are due to host Bolivia, while Lionel Messi's Argentina are to face Ecuador.

The 2020 Copa America has already been postponed until 2021 in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The new dates for the 2021 Copa America are June 11 to July 11.

Globally, more than 10,000 people have died from almost 245,000 cases.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) announced the suspension of all national football competitions for an indefinite period, with president Rogerio Caboclo vowing to help fight the spread of coronavirus in Brazil.

The announcement came in the wake of FIFA's postponement of South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which were scheduled for March 26 – 31, and affected all national competitions currently in progress and under the CBF's supervision.

A statement on the CBF's official website explained that state football federations would have autonomy over their own competitions but underlined the importance of a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Brazilian Football Confederation [CBF] decided to suspend, from this Monday, March 16, for an indefinite period, the national competitions under its coordination that are in progress: Copa do Brasil, Brazilian Women's Championships A1 and A2, Championship Brazilian U-17 and Copa do Brasil U-20," the statement said.

"CBF will remain in permanent contact with the Ministry of Health, joining efforts so that the country and the sport overcome the great challenge in relation to the pandemic, hoping that, as soon as possible, we can return to normality."

The statement quoted Caboclo as saying: "We know and assume the responsibility of football in the fight against the expansion of COVID-19 in Brazil."

FIFA has confirmed this month's South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

CONMEBOL had requested the postponement of games including Brazil v Bolivia and Argentina v Ecuador due to the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 5,000 lives worldwide.

In a statement released on Thursday, FIFA indicated a decision has not yet been made over when the two rounds of qualifiers, which were set for March 23-31, will be played.

"FIFA will continue to assess the situation in relation to COVID-19 and will decide whether further changes to the schedule of South American FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers are required, always with the aim of protecting the health and safety of all individuals involved," the body said.

CONMEBOL has also confirmed a temporary suspension of the Libertadores due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CONMEBOL has asked FIFA to postpone the start of its 2022 World Cup qualifying, scheduled for this month, due to coronavirus fears.

In a letter sent to FIFA on Wednesday, CONMEBOL asked for its opening qualifiers, scheduled for March 26, 27 and 31, to be postponed.

COVID-19 has killed more than 4,600 people worldwide while affecting more than 126,000.

CONMEBOL cited the possibility of players not being able to travel from Europe due to coronavirus as a reason for its request.

"The member countries of CONMEBOL – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela have requested the CONMEBOL to submit to FIFA's consideration the request to postpone the start of the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup," the statement read in part.

Lionel Messi's Argentina are due to begin their qualifying campaign against Ecuador in Buenos Aires, while Brazil are scheduled to face Bolivia in Recife.

The other matchday one games are Paraguay-Peru, Uruguay-Chile and Colombia-Venezuela.

Neymar is back in the Brazil squad for their first World Cup qualifiers, but goalkeeper Alisson is missing despite only being ruled out for a week by Liverpool with a hip injury.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that Alisson is set to miss the Reds' next two matches against Bournemouth and Atletico Madrid after sustaining a hip problem in training.

Klopp said the situation will be clear after next week, but Brazil have left him off their list for matches against Bolivia and Peru, to be played on March 28 and April 1, respectively.

Brazil coach Tite confirmed in his news conference Alisson has been excluded from the selection due to injury.

Neymar returns, however, after he missed their previous matches in November due to fitness issues of his own, though Tite seemed frustrated when asked about the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

"Hopefully all high-level athletes are at their best and that I have to answer 300 questions about why one player and not the other," he said.

"I want to have difficult decisions all the time, that everyone is in good form, Neymar included."

Notable inclusions are Bruno Guimaraes, Felipe and Everton Ribeiro.

Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes is in line for his first cap, Felipe is hoping to get only his second and Flamengo's Everton Ribeiro has not represented the Selecao since the 2015 Copa America.

"In the case of Everton, he returns because he has great form in his creative process," Tite said. "Bruno Guimaraes had a great championship last year for Athletico Paranaense, we followed him in the Under-23s and in Lyon, this consolidates, strengthens.

"It is likewise with Felipe. We followed two games that were emblematic of Atletico Madrid, against Liverpool and Valencia."

Brazil squad in full:

Weverton (Palmeiras), Ederson (Manchester City), Ivan (Ponte Preta); Dani Alves (Sao Paulo), Danilo (Juventus), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Felipe (Atletico Madrid), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain); Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Bruno Guimaraes (Lyon), Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Fabinho (Liverpool); Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo), Everton (Gremio), Richarlison (Everton), Bruno Henrique (Flamengo).

Brazil great Pele allayed concerns over his health and welfare, insisting "I'm fine".

Pele's son Edinho said his iconic father felt "depressed" and was reluctant to leave the house due to problems with his hip.

However, three-time World Cup winner Pele – who turns 80 in October – rejected those health claims on Thursday.

"Thank you for your prayers and concerns," Pele said in a statement released. "I'm fine. I'm turning 80 this year. I have my good and bad days. This is normal for people my age.

"I'm not afraid, I'm determined and I'm confident in what I do. Last week, I had the honour of meeting the CBF [Brazilian Football Confederation] president in the studio I was shooting my documentary in. I had two photo sessions last month for campaigns that use my image and testimony.

"I have several upcoming events scheduled. I do not avoid meeting commitments from my always busy schedule. I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best possible way, but I intend to keep the ball rolling. God bless you all."

In an interview published by GloboEsporte.com on Monday, Edinho said: "He's very fragile in relation to mobility. He had a hip replacement and didn't have ideal or adequate rehabilitation.

"He has this mobility problem and that has set off a kind of depression. Imagine, he's the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can't walk properly."

Edinho added: "He's embarrassed, he doesn't want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house. He is very shy, reclusive."

Pele spent 18 years at Santos, making 1,281 appearances and scoring 1,091 goals – though not all of those came in official matches.

He remains Brazil's leading goalscorer with 77 and is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Pele feels "depressed" and is reluctant to leave the house due to problems with his hip, according to his son Edinho.

Brazil great Pele, who will turn 80 in October, has long since suffered with hip issues and requires a walking frame to get around.

Many of the three-time World Cup winner's recent public appearances have been in a wheelchair.

"He's very fragile in relation to mobility. He had a hip replacement and didn't have ideal or adequate rehabilitation," Edinho told GloboEsporte.com.

"He has this mobility problem and that has set off a kind of depression. Imagine, he's the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can't walk properly."

Edinho added: "He's embarrassed, he doesn't want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house. He is very shy, reclusive."

Pele spent 18 years at Santos, making 1,281 appearances and scoring 1,091 goals – though not all of those came in official matches.

He remains Brazil's leading goalscorer with 77 and is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Real Madrid lifted the lid on the worst-kept secret in world football on Monday when they confirmed the signing of Flamengo talent Reinier Jesus for a reported €30million.

In completing the long-reported deal, Los Blancos bolstered an already impressive collection of young players on their books, with the club's future planning seemingly second to none in world football.

In Eder Militao, Federico Valverde, Luka Jovic, Brahim Diaz, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Takefusa Kubo, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Reguilon, Martin Odegaard and now Reinier, Madrid boast a remarkable amount of under-23 talent.

Reinier completed his switch the day after his 18th birthday and, while his price tag appears hefty, it actually led to friction within Flamengo – coach Jorge Jesus accusing the club of not being able to value their players, a comment vice-president Marcos Braz subsequently shut down.

Although a regular in transfer gossip columns of late, Reinier remains something of an unknown quantity and a complete rookie given he has played just 15 matches of senior football.

We asked Andy Walker, a Brazilian football analyst and expert for Football Radar, for the lowdown on the latest Brazilian 'wonderkid' to secure a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

What's Reinier's favoured role?

"Reinier is at his best in a No.10 role, but he does like to play slightly more advanced than a traditional '10', staying close to the striker as much as possible," Andy surmised.

It is an area in which Madrid are by no means short, but Reinier also boasts the flexibility to fill in right across the frontline. "He has actually been used as a striker at times by Flamengo as a result," Andy added.

 

What are his greatest attributes?

A Brazilian attacker coveted by Real Madrid – you might be able to guess at a few of his strongest traits, though Andy has also been impressed by Reinier's poise when it matters.

"A quick, direct dribbler who can glide past his man with ease, as well as possessing deceptively good close control and technique," Andy said. "He's also got a real eye for goal, with six goals in 729 minutes of senior football, with his composure really impressive given his very young age."

 

In which areas does he need to improve?

While he is certainly costly, it should not be forgotten Reinier has only just turned 18 and is by no means the finished article. Our expert has reservations over the Flamengo product's physicality and athleticism at the moment.

He said: "He needs to progress physically as we have seen him struggle to keep up the pace in the latter stages when playing a full 90 minutes, but that should all come as he learns the game and adapts to a more rigorous training regime in Europe. As with any young Brazilian, he will need a lot of growth on the tactical side of the game, but his six months under Jorge Jesus will prove a real benefit, rather than playing under some of the archaic Brazilian coaches."

 

Which player could he be comparable to?

Every talented young player from Brazil or Argentina gets labelled as the heir apparent to a previous superstar, and it seems Reinier is no different having drawn comparisons to a former Madrid player.

"The easy comparison to make is with Kaka – or specifically the Milan-era Kaka," Andy suggested, and he is not the only one to make that link. Guilherme Dalla Dea, Reinier's former Brazil Under-17 coach, said similar last year.

"I see him as a '10' – a Rai, a Kaka," he told FIFA. "I see these characteristics in Reiner. He likes getting in the box, scoring goals. He also scores goals from outside the box. I've so much belief in him. He's a kid, a youngster, but he's very level-headed and because of this he's our captain. I firmly believe we'll see him playing at a very high level overseas."

 

How does his potential stack up compared to Rodrygo and Vinicius?

There is no doubt Madrid are backing their own track record of turning raw young talents into the world's best, such has been their investment in under-23 players over the past few years. And the consensus is, Reinier's potential is vast.

"It's difficult to say given Rodrygo and Vinicius were given more time to show their talents in Brazil before moving, but Reinier's talent has been obvious since his very first game and I think the general feeling is that, if all goes well, then he could end up being the best of the lot," Andy observed.

 

Have there been any concerns relating to his mentality?

Talent can only take you so far. As a teenager moving to a new continent, Reinier will surely face mental challenges and those will likely determine whether or not he achieves success – but in terms of professionalism, he is seemingly well set.

"Reinier's team-mates and coaches have all been very positive about his attitude and willingness to learn, so he looks well-placed to make the most of his talents," Andy commented.

Similarly, his coach Jorge Jesus has no worries about that side of the 18-year-old, telling Marca: "I believe a lot in Reinier. I had several talks with him and we talked a lot from the point of view of how he can get better, about his defects, what needs to be corrected. Reinier is a very intelligent kid, he likes to learn and I can say he is a gifted one. I assure you, he is going to mature there. He will arrive in Madrid safe and quiet to do a job, but it is necessary to give him some time."

Alisson has become the first goalkeeper to win the Samba d'Or Award, beating Liverpool team-mate Roberto Firmino to the prize with Neymar only fifth.

The stopper took 35.54 per cent of the vote for the best Brazilian player in Europe with Firmino in second spot with 23.48 per cent.

Liverpool won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2019 while Brazil claimed Copa America glory.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva came third with another Liverpool player, midfielder Fabinho, finishing fourth in the voting.

Three-time winner Neymar, who missed Brazil's triumph at the Copa America on home soil, was in fifth place with only 7.57 per cent.

Firmino won the award in 2018 and Alisson is the third player to win the Samba d'Or while representing Philippe Coutinho the 2016 recipient. 

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson insists his rivalry with Liverpool counterpart Alisson only exists on the pitch, despite competing with each other on multiple fronts.

The pair have battled it out for domestic and European honours during their time in English football, while also vying for the number one jersey with Brazil.

Ederson has played second fiddle to Alisson on the international stage, but the 26-year-old believes their intense on-field competition can only be considered a positive.

"I think it's a good sign for all the goalkeepers in Brazil and for the country," he is quoted as saying by several British newspapers.

"You look at Europe and you find two great goalkeepers playing at high level in two of the best clubs.

"I have a good relationship, not only with Alisson, but also with [Roberto] Firmino and Fabinho.

"When we have a day off in the same day, we sometimes gather, we have a barbecue.

"It's difficult with our routine and the amount of games to have the same day off, but we have done it few times before. Our rivalry is only on the pitch."

Ederson claimed bragging rights when City won a clean sweep of domestic trophies last season, including the Premier League title after finishing a point ahead of Liverpool.

The reigning champions are 11 points worse off than the Reds after playing a game more this time around, but Ederson is refusing to give up on a third straight top-flight crown.

"We know the gap is big, but we need to carry on with our job," he said. "We need to keep giving our best on the pitch, trying to win game by game. 

"We know it's going to be very difficult. Liverpool are having a great season, but in football anything can happen. We need to be ready for any outcome."

Argentina will open the 2020 Copa America with a blockbuster clash against Chile in Buenos Aires.

In a rematch of this year's third-place play-off, which Argentina won as Lionel Messi and Gary Medel were sent off, the teams will meet again at the El Monumental on June 12 next year.

While the draw took place on Tuesday, the nations already knew almost all of their opponents with teams split into zones for next year's tournament in Argentina and Colombia.

However, Australia – playing at their first Copa America – were drawn into Group A, which features Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay.

Qatar, the other invited nation, will meet Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.

Brazil will go into the tournament as defending champions after their success at home this year.

The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

Group A: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay.
Group B: Colombia, Brazil, Qatar, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru.

Page 1 of 10
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.