Barcelona great Dani Alves feels his Brazilian compatriot Pele – and not Lionel Messi – holds the strongest claim to the 'greatest of all time' title because he "changed football".

Alves played alongside Messi for eight years during his first spell at Camp Nou, forming a devastating relationship with the Argentinian on the right flank.

Both players were pillars of a Barcelona team that enjoyed a prolonged period of dominance both in Spain and Europe, with Alves winning 23 trophies during his initial eight-season stint in Catalonia.

And yet, despite seeing Messi's brilliance up close and personal, Alves – who now plays in Mexico for UNAM Pumas – still believes Pele's significance is at an altogether different level.

Speaking to Mexico, Real Madrid and Pumas legend Hugo Sanchez on ESPN, Alves was asked to pick between Messi and Pele – he said: "I choose Pele for one reason: he changed football. Messi changed a generation.

"All those people who are more than football, I'm going to choose them. And besides, I'm Brazilian.

"For me, Pele should not be part of this ['GOAT'] debate. If you ask me, who is the best player in history? I would say Messi. Pele doesn't come into it."

Cristiano Ronaldo was not brought into the 'GOAT' discussion, though Alves did appraise his former Clasico rival when asked about his toughest opponent.

"Cristiano Ronaldo," Alves added. "This b****** doesn't let you breathe for a second. I didn't do too badly, but it's difficult. He's a scoring machine."

Now 39, Alves is continuing his illustrious and immensely successful career in Liga MX having signed a one-year deal with Pumas in July.

He made the switch to Mexico City after spending eight months back at Barcelona, returning to help out his former team-mate Xavi.

It remains to be seen if he will be at Pumas beyond the current season, though he suggests thoughts of retirement have not firmly taken root, even joking he could play for another 10 years if Messi breaks his world record of 47 trophies won.

"First, before requesting anything [another season with Pumas], I like to deliver," he said.

"I have a year to prove myself with [Pumas]. I wouldn't have a problem [staying another year]. I need to show them that I can, that together we can build a very cool team in Mexico, that plays in a different way, that [lets] young people take a step forward.

"I don't like to think about the future because it's always unknown. I let life take me. If Messi passes me [in trophies] then I'm going to play until I'm 50!"

Raphinha was told by former Barcelona forward Neymar he would not regret moving to Camp Nou, and the former Leeds United winger is content with his decision to turn down Chelsea.

The new Blaugrana signing has one goal and one assist in his first four appearances for the Catalan giants.

Raphinha might have ended up elsewhere as he left Leeds before the season, with Chelsea widely linked with a transfer, but he sought advice from Brazil team-mate Neymar, who won two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns and the 2014-15 Champions League during a four-year stint with Barca between 2013 and 2017.

And the Paris Saint-Germain superstar told Raphinha to make the "dream" move to Barca.

"I spoke a lot to Neymar. He told me that if I came to Barcelona then I would not regret it," Raphinha told La Vanguardia. "And he was right."

Explaining why he snubbed Chelsea, the Brazil man added: "My dream was to wear the Barcelona shirt. This is a club that I have followed since I was very young.

"Since Ronaldinho arrived, I began to understand a little more about the history of the club. I wanted to be a part of this.

"So that dream, those desires were stronger than any other proposal no matter how powerful it was financially."

Now, Raphinha believes Xavi's side boast the required characteristics to challenge in this season's Champions League, having kicked off their campaign with an emphatic 5-1 rout of Viktoria Plzen in midweek.

"Apart from the talent that the team has, I think the most important thing [for winning the Champions League] is to have a winning mentality," he said. "And we have it.

"[If Barca win the Champions League] I will do the same thing I did with Leeds when we managed to secure safety: I will cross Camp Nou on my knees or on the field where we play. It could very well be Istanbul [this season]."

Brazil coach Tite has announced a 26-man squad for the friendlies against Ghana and Tunisia, the team's final games before the World Cup in Qatar.

Defensive duo Bremer and Roger Ibanez, who play in Italy with Juventus and Roma respectively, are the new faces in the squad who could earn international debuts.

Established names including Alisson, Thiago Silva, Casemiro and Neymar make the cut, with the squad predominantly consisting of those playing in Europe.

Palmeiras goalkeeper Weverton and Flamengo duo Everton Ribeiro and Pedro are the three from the Brazilian league included, along with 11 representatives from the Premier League and six from LaLiga.

Among the notable absentees are Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus, all of whom were in the last squad from June, and 124-cap full-back Dani Alves.

Brazil face Ghana in Le Havre on September 23 before tackling Tunisia four days later in Paris.

Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras); Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Danilo, Alex Sandro, Bremer (all Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Alex Telles (Sevilla), Ibanez (Roma); Casemiro, Fred (both Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Fabinho (Liverpool), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United); Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo (both Real Madrid), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Richarlison (Tottenham), Antony (Manchester United), Raphinha (Barcelona), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Pedro (Flamengo).

Brazil head coach Tite has rebuffed Kylian Mbappe's suggestion that World Cup qualifying is more difficult for teams in Europe than it is in South America.

Paris Saint-Germain and France forward Mbappe said in May that European teams have an advantage in the global showpiece due to playing "high-level matches" in qualifying.

Mbappe, who lifted the World Cup with France in 2018, added that football in South America "is not as developed as in Europe".

However, Brazil boss Tite does not agree with those comments and feels the quality of football in the CONMEBOL region is as high as anywhere in the world.

"Maybe he is talking about these Nations League clashes or European friendlies, but not World Cup qualifiers," Tite told ESPN.

"We don't have, with all due respect, Azerbaijan to play. We don't have anyone that gives you a break.

"The qualifiers here have a much higher degree of difficulty than the group stage [of European qualifying]."

The past four editions of the World Cup have been won by European teams – Italy in 2006, Spain in 2010, Germany in 2014 and France in 2018.

That is the longest run of victories for a single continent in the history of the tournament, with only one runner-up – Argentina in 2014 – coming from outside the continent.

Indeed, 12 of the previous 21 World Cups have been won by European teams, with South America responsible for the other nine winners.

France booked their spot at Qatar 2022 by finishing top of their qualifying group with five wins and three draws from their eight matches.

Brazil also went unbeaten in qualifying thanks to 14 wins and three draws en route to finishing six points ahead of Argentina in top spot in the 10-team pool.

FIFA has agreed to cancel the World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina.

The fixture in September was stopped shortly after kick-off when Brazilian health officials entered the field claiming four Argentina players had broken COVID-19 protocols.

FIFA was pushing for the clash to be rescheduled for next month, despite the fact the game was essentially meaningless with both teams having already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

The confederations of Brazil and Argentina both opposed FIFA's demand, with the case taken to the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) where all three parties agreed to the deal.

Brazil's Tite and Argentina's Lionel Scaloni argued the risk of injuries and suspensions were too high for the game to be played, which would have occurred just two months before the World Cup is scheduled to begin.

With the agreement, both South American teams are free to schedule friendlies against opponents of their choosing for their World Cup preparations – where they will be looking to end Europe's dominance on the world stage.

Brazil have not won the tournament since 2002 and were humiliated by Germany in the semi-finals when hosting the tournament in 2014, where Argentina were subsequently beaten in the final.

Argentina are alongside Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia in Group C, while Brazil are in Group G with Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Fans' wait for the World Cup has, of course, been a little longer than normal this time around – ordinarily the tournament would've already been completed.

Nevertheless, the big kick-off is closing in with Qatar 2022 now just 100 days away – we're into the final straight!

As with any major tournament, predicting a winner in the build-up is just a natural part of being a football fan, even if it can often be a fool's errand.

But considering how integral statistics are to football these days, using data might just give you the edge, and that's where Stats Perform come in.

Our Artificial Intelligence team have used Opta's extensive data reserves to quantify each team's chances of winning the entire tournament.

Every match has been run through the Stats Perform World Cup prediction model to calculate the estimated probability of the outcome (win, draw or loss). This uses odds from betting markets and Stats Perform team rankings, which are based on historical and recent performances.

It takes into consideration the strength of each team's opponents as well as the difficulty of their respective paths to the final, plus the make-up of the groups and any relevant seedings heading into the knockouts.

Then, the rest of the tournament is simulated 40,000 times and analysed, providing the AI team with a percentage for each nation, showing the probability of them ultimately lifting the trophy at the Lusail Stadium on December 18.

Let's check out the results…

FAVOURITES: France (17.9 per cent)

Suspend your disbelief! Yes, reigning champions France have the greatest probability of winning the World Cup this year, with our model giving them an almost 18-per cent chance of clinching a third title.

But let's not overlook how remarkable an achievement that would be. No team has retained the World Cup since Brazil in 1962, and the only other occasion of that happening was in the 1930s when Italy won it back-to-back.

France were the favourites heading into Euro 2020 but were ultimately disappointing – they'll need to do significantly better here otherwise their fate could be sealed by the dreaded winners' curse.

Each of the past four European winners of the World Cup have been eliminated in the group stages, a trend that began with Les Bleus in 2002.

 

2. Brazil (15.7 per cent)

Another unsurprising entry. That's right, record winners Brazil come in at second in terms of likelihood of winning the World Cup.

Tite's side qualified with ease and clearly have an extremely talented group of players available to them – the problem is getting them all on the pitch at one time while retaining a cohesive and balanced shape.

If Tite can find the magic formula at the World Cup this time, at the very least you'd expect them to get beyond the quarter-finals, the stage they crashed out to Belgium four years ago in Kazan.

Failure, however, will mean Brazil's World Cup drought will stretch to 24 years by the time the 2026 edition comes around, and that would make it their joint-longest barren run in the competition since claiming their first title in 1958.

3. Spain (11.5 per cent)

La Roja aren't the force they were as recently as 10 years ago, when they won a third successive major international tournament with victory at Euro 2012.

However, Luis Enrique has turned them into a side that is easy on the eye and capable of carving open the best teams – their main issue in recent years has been finding a reliable striker, and that'll likely be what determines how far they get in Qatar.

Either way, we can surely expect a better showing than they managed in Russia, where they were hindered by the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup as a result of accepting a post-tournament role at Real Madrid.

4. England (8.0 per cent)

The Three Lions almost won their first major international trophy since 1966 last year at Euro 2020, only to fall at the final hurdle against Italy.

Either way, few can deny it was a sign of progress: they reached the Russia 2018 semi-finals, the final at Euro 2020, so surely Qatar 2022 is theirs already?

Gareth Southgate has made England an effective tournament side, even if doubts remain over his ability to impose a style of play that sees the Three Lions take the initiative against the biggest teams.

Similarly, their performances in the first round of Nations League fixtures in June left a lot to be desired, but that won't stop expectations from soaring in Qatar.

5. Belgium (7.9 per cent)

Squeezing into the top five ahead of the Netherlands (7.7 per cent) are Belgium, who reached the semi-finals four years ago before being eliminated by eventual winners France.

It's fair to say this is likely to be the last opportunity for the Red Devils' so-called 'golden generation' to truly leave its mark on a major tournament – in fact, many original members of that Belgium generation have already retired.

While success for Roberto Martinez's side looks unlikely, they are a match for any team on their day, and our probability score recognises they are by no means out of contention.

THE REST OF THE FIELD

Netherlands and Germany (7.2) are hard on Belgium's heels in our predictor table, though in both cases fans might feel their squads have more to offer than their neighbours.

Both teams have solid blends of experience and youthful exuberance, while the two coaches have vast experience – Louis van Gaal needs no introduction, while Hansi Flick has been involved in the Germany setup for much of his coaching career.

But the teams many will be looking out for because of certain individuals are Argentina (6.5 per cent) and Portugal (5.1 per cent).

 

They are the only other two to be given more than a 2.3 per cent chance of World Cup success, and given the presence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, they cannot be discounted.

Argentina have rebuilt since a somewhat shambolic campaign in Russia, with Lionel Scaloni inspiring La Albiceleste to their first Copa America in 28 years in 2021.

Messi was central to their triumph in that tournament, and now he's got the proverbial monkey off his back, there's hope Argentina could produce a respectable showing.

With Ronaldo 37 and Messi 35, it's unlikely either will play another World Cup. Given the tournament is synonymous with those generally regarded as the best ever – Pele and Diego Maradona – they will be desperate to crown their respective careers.

This is it.

 

10. Croatia (2.3 per cent)
11. Denmark (2.0 per cent)
12. Uruguay (1.5 per cent)
13. Mexico (1.4 per cent)
14. Switzerland (1.0 per cent)
15. Poland (0.8 per cent)
16. Iran (0.6 per cent)
17. Japan (0.5 per cent)
18. United States (0.5 per cent)
19. Wales (0.4 per cent)
20. Qatar (0.4 per cent)
21. South Korea (0.4 per cent)
22. Serbia (0.2 per cent)
23. Senegal (0.2 per cent)
24. Ecuador (0.2 per cent)
25. Australia (0.1 per cent)
26. Ghana (

The European domestic season is now back up and running, meaning we are officially into a World Cup campaign.

For some players, the main focus over the next few months will be remaining fit with the hope of entering Qatar 2022 in peak condition for their respective nations.

For others, the first part of the 2022-23 season will provide an opportunity to play themselves into contention for a squad place ahead of the biggest tournament of them all.

That includes an array of talented stars who have yet to represent their countries at senior level, but who could be given the chance to showcase their talent on the global stage.

With the big kick-off now just 100 days away, Stats Perform has identified five uncapped players who still have an outside shot of glory in Qatar.


Gleison Bremer (Brazil) – 25, centre-back, Juventus

If Bremer was not on the radar of Brazil head coach Tite ahead of the 2021-22 season, the 25-year-old certainly will be now. He ranked first among Serie A defenders last term for duels contested (451) and also led the way for headed clearances (75), showing that he can be relied upon at the back.

Indeed, Bremer's form last time out led to Juventus splashing out a reported €50million to sign him from Torino during the close season. Brazil must be quick, though, as the Italian top-flight's best defender last season is also eligible to represent the Azzurri.

 

Luis Maximiano (Portugal) – 23, goalkeeper, Lazio

Goalkeeper Maximiano is another who moved to a club of bigger stature just a few months out from the World Cup beginning after swapping relegated Granada, where he impressed in his only campaign, for Serie A side Lazio. The 23-year-old certainly had a chance to showcase his shot-stopping abilities last season, with his 127 saves the most of any keeper in LaLiga, and the fifth-most of anyone in Europe's top five leagues.

Following the departure of long-serving Thomas Strakosha, Maximiano will be installed as first choice at Stadio Olimpico, where Portugal boss Fernando Santos may make a visit or two in the coming months.



Sven Botman (Netherlands) – 22, centre-back, Newcastle United

Despite catching the eye in Ligue 1 with Lille, particularly in 2020-21 when starting 37 of the 38 matches played in their stunning title-winning campaign, Botman has remained on the periphery of the Netherlands squad. He has been a regular for the Oranje at Under-21 level, but after joining Newcastle in a £31.8m (€37m) transfer last month, he is surely now in serious consideration for a place in the senior squad.

Having led the way among Lille players last time out per 90 minutes for successful passes (53.4), blocks (0.84) and headed clearances (2.2), the Dutchman will hope to hit the ground running in another new league.

 

Benjamin Bourigeaud (France) – 28, attacking midfielder, Rennes

Reigning world champions France are blessed with world-class talent right across the pitch, but could there be room for a wild card in the form of Bourigeaud? The versatile attacking midfielder can play in a number of positions, though was predominantly used out on the right in what was a career-best season last time out in Ligue 1.

While France are hardly crying out for another player to slot into the final third, Bourigeaud's 23 direct goal involvements for Rennes last season is a tally bettered by only four others, while his David Beckham-esque deliveries from wide can provide something a little different for Didier Deschamps' men.

 

Inaki Williams (Ghana) – 28, forward, Athletic Bilbao

Ghana's squad has been completely transformed since booking their place in Qatar, having persuaded six players to switch allegiance and represent them at the World Cup. Patric Pfeiffer, Stephen Ambrosius and Ransford-Yeboah Konigsdorffer are all available for selection, as are Inaki Williams, Tariq Lamptey and Mohammed Salisu.

Each of those players will enhance Otto Addo's squad, with Williams – capped once by Spain in a friendly – possibly a game-changing option in attack. He is someone who can be replied upon, too, having appeared in each of Athletic's past 233 LaLiga matches, a run spanning back to April 2016. 

It's getting close. We may have had to wait an extra five months than usual, but the 2022 World Cup is now just 100 days away.

A likely last hurrah on the World Cup stage awaits superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, while new names will break through and rising talent will be put to the test.

Eight nations have been champions of the tournament that was first staged in 1930, and it will be France looking to defend the title this time.

Many of us pride ourselves on remembering World Cup trivia from past tournaments, but just how good is your knowledge?

These Opta-assisted 20 questions should sort the group-stage flops from the champions of World Cup quizzing. The answers are below, but don't cheat!

The first...

1. Name the English boss who at Qatar 2022 will become the first to coach a team at both the men's and women's World Cups?

2. Gregg Berhalter will become the first man to serve as player and manager of the USA at the World Cup. He appeared at the 2002 tournament and is now boss of the American side. To which present-day Premier League club did Berhalter then belong, becoming their first World Cup player?

3. Who became the first player to score a Golden Goal winner at the World Cup when he netted for France against Paraguay in a 1998 last-16 clash?

4. In the 2018 showdown between France and Croatia, who became the first player in World Cup final history to score for both teams?

5. Qatar will attempt to become the first nation from the AFC confederation to win their first World Cup finals match. Ten of the previous 11 have lost (including Israel in 1970), but who were the team who in 1982 managed a 1-1 draw against Czechoslovakia?

 

The last...

6. There have been 52 hat-tricks in the tournament's history, but who was the last player to score a treble in the knockout stages of the World Cup?

7. A goalkeeper won his 159th and final international cap at the 2018 finals, when he became the oldest player to appear at the World Cup, at the age of 45 years and 161 days. He saved a penalty in a 2-1 defeat for his team against Saudi Arabia. Who was that goalkeeper and what team did he play for?

8. Ghana reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2010 and Senegal did so at the 2002 finals. But who were the first team from Africa to make it to the last eight, doing so at the 1990 finals in Italy?

9. Brazil last lost a group game at the World Cup in 1998, since when they have won 12 and drawn three games at the first-round stage. Which team beat them in that 1998 tournament?

10. Cameroon have lost each of their past seven games at the World Cup (between 2002 and 2014). Only one team have ever lost more games in a row in the competition's history – nine between 1930 and 1958. Who were that team?

The most...

11. Just Fontaine scored his 13 World Cup goals in just six games for France. The competition's all-time record scorer is Germany's Miroslav Klose, who netted 16 times for his country in how many appearances: 22, 23 or 24?

12. Who will become the only team to have appeared at all 22 editions of the World Cup when they take part in Qatar 2022?

13. Iran will be making their sixth appearance at the World Cup and have never gone beyond the group stage. Which country has made the most appearances (eight) without making it past the first round?

14. Which forward had the most goal involvements of all players in European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, scoring 12 and assisting six times in 10 games?

15. Since 1966, only three players have completed more than 12 dribbles in a single World Cup game, with Brazil's Jairzinho achieving 13 against Paraguay in 1970 and Paul Gascoigne matching that total for England against Cameroon in 1990. Who managed the most – 15 in a game against Italy at the 1994 tournament?

 

The GOATs...

16. Which superstar, who scored eight times and provided eight assists in 21 World Cup games, also holds the record for the most handball decisions given against a player at the tournament (seven) since records began?

17. Who holds the record for the most minutes played in World Cup history, having featured in 2,216 minutes of finals action?

18. Portugal great Cristiano Ronaldo is one of only four players to score in four different World Cup tournaments. He will attempt to go one better this year, but Ronaldo currently sits alongside Pele, Klose and which other player?

19. Between them, Ronaldo (seven) and Lionel Messi (six) have managed 13 World Cup goals. How many of those goals came in the knockout rounds?

20. Ronaldo is one of just two European players to have either scored and/or assisted a goal in each of the last five major international tournaments (World Cup/European Championship). Who is the other player to have managed the feat?

 

Answers:

1. John Herdman (Canada – he managed Canada Women at the 2015 Women's World Cup)
2. Crystal Palace
3. Laurent Blanc (France)
4. Mario Mandzukic (Croatia)
5. Kuwait.
6. Tomas Skuhravy (for Czechoslovakia against Costa Rica, last 16, 1990)
7. Essam El Hadary (Egypt)
8. Cameroon
9. Norway
10. Mexico
11. 24
12. Brazil
13. Scotland
14. Memphis Depay (Netherlands)
15. Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria)
16. Diego Maradona (Argentina)
17. Paolo Maldini (Italy)
18. Uwe Seeler (West Germany)
19. Zero
20. Ivan Perisic (Croatia)

Gleison Bremer revealed Juventus greats Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have been invaluable sources of advice since he joined the Bianconeri, as he targeted a spot in Brazil's squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

Having been named Serie A's 2021-22 Defender of the Year while starring for Torino, Bremer joined Juve in a reported €40million move after Matthijs de Ligt was sold to Bayern Munich last month.

Bremer led the way across Europe's top five leagues for interceptions last season (105), as well as making more recoveries (284) and winning more aerial duels (132) than any other Serie A player.

The Brazilian has taken Chiellini's number three shirt after he departed for Los Angeles FC, and is doing his best to learn from both him and current Juve skipper Bonucci as the Bianconeri target a first Serie A title since 2019-20.

"I spoke with Giorgio Chiellini - he has been one of the best Italian defenders," Bremer told a news conference on Thursday. 

"He told me I could take his number three shirt, so I followed his suggestion. 

"Since I arrived, I have looked to Leonardo Bonucci for advice, and as captain he has certainly been helping me out.

"We are concentrating on starting the season strongly against Sassuolo on Monday. This year we are all focused on putting the club back on track. We want to win at Juventus - this is a club where I can compete for important titles.

"It's a club that aims to win, to be at the top, so it was the right thing to join Juve.

"Being at Juve means setting your sights high. We want to do well in the Champions League, but we must first focus on Serie A."

 

Despite his eye-catching performances in Italy, Bremer has yet to be handed a call-up by Brazil, who are looking to end a 20-year wait for World Cup success in Qatar later this year.

As the 25-year-old highlighted the role played by compatriots Danilo and Alex Sandro in advising him to join Juve, he set his sights on making a late bid for the Selecao's squad for the tournament.

"It won't be simple here because it's not easy to play for Juventus, but I knew there were Brazilians here and this helped me make my decision," he added.

"I spoke to Danilo and Alex Sandro and they were helpful in making up my mind, and they have helped me settle in straight away. 

"Also, playing for Juventus will help me aim for the World Cup."

Juventus begin their 2022-23 Serie A campaign at home to Sassuolo on Monday.

Brazil do not want to play the suspended World Cup qualifier against Argentina due to risks ahead of Qatar 2022, with the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) to rule later in August.

The Selecao, along with the Albiceleste, both comfortably qualified for Qatar 2022 despite the September fixture in Sao Paulo being halted after six minutes when Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of four Argentinian players who they claimed broke quarantine rules.

The officials sensationally entered the pitch to remove those four players, with the Argentinian players subsequently walking off amid the chaos. The fixture was suspended.

FIFA fined both national bodies and insisted that the qualifier needed to be completed despite its irrelevance to qualifying.

The Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) and the Argentine Football Association (AFA) took the case to the CAS, who will rule later this month.

No date has been set by FIFA for the fixture, but it is anticipated it will be in September.

CBF president Ednaldo Rodrigues said the national team did not want to play the fixture two months out from the World Cup due to risks with injuries and suspensions along with a possible Argentinian boycott.

"We will reach out to FIFA so this match is not played," Rodrigues said in a statement.

"I will make every effort to answer to the request of our coaching staff.

"Our priority is to win a sixth World Cup in Qatar. If that match is not recommended by the coaching staff of the Selecao, we will work for it not to be played."

Bournemouth have announced the free transfer signing of goalkeeper Neto, following the veteran's release from Barcelona.

The 33-year-old, who has also played with Juventus and Valencia, arrives on a year-long deal at Vitality Stadium as the Cherries' fourth signing of the window following their return to the Premier League.

The Brazilian will wear the number 13 jersey for Scott Parker's side and will provide competition for Mark Travers and Will Dennis.

"To be able to attract a player of Neto's calibre is very pleasing," chief executive Neill Blake stated. "This is a real coup for the club and we're delighted he has chosen to join us.

"He has vast experience at the very top level of the game so I'm sure he will be a huge asset for us."

A Serie A, Coppa Italia and Copa del Rey winner across his career, Neto has often played as a back-up option for other keepers, particularly during his time at Juventus and Barcelona.

He made more appearances in two years at Valencia than in five combined between the Bianconeri and Blaugrana, and was capped once by Brazil, in 2018 against El Salvador in a friendly.

Neto follows Joe Rothwell, Ryan Fredericks and Marcus Tavernier through the door on the south coast, as the club look to ensure they stay up following promotion from the Championship last term.

Bournemouth started their attempt to do so with a 2-0 home win against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Brazil emerged victorious as Copa America Feminina champions after a hard-fought 1-0 win against Colombia on Saturday, played in Colombia.

The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot, with Brazil's Debinha making no mistake in the 39th minute.

With the goal, Debinha finished tied for second in the tournament's Golden Boot race, as she and teammate Adriana Maga finished with five goals each, one behind Argentina's Yamila Rodriguez.

The victory puts the finishing touches on a remarkable run from the Brazilians, not conceding a single goal in the tournament, while winning their six matches by a combined score of 20-0.

There was plenty of attacking from both sides – with Colombia attempting 21 shots while Brazil had 15 – but the winning side was credited with all four 'big chances', and were on the right side of the expected goal count 1.65 to 0.97.

Brazil will play the winner of the Women's European Championships in a Finalissima on a date yet to be confirmed.

Raphinha has thanked Marcelo Bielsa for setting him on the road to stardom with Barcelona and Brazil after their time working together at Leeds United.

Tricky winger Raphinha's form for Leeds in the 2021-22 campaign in particular earned him his first caps for Brazil and ultimately led to a big-money switch to Barcelona this month.

The 25-year-old contributed to 29 Premier League goals for Leeds – five more than any team-mate – with his goal involvements helping to keep them in the division last season.

Across his 19 months in England's top flight, only Tottenham's Son Heung-min (131) created more chances than Raphinha's tally of 129, highlighting his creativity.

Raphinha thrived in Bielsa's physically demanding system, and also impressed under the Argentine coach's successor Jesse Marsh in the back end of the previous campaign.

Having now cemented his place in the Brazil squad ahead of the World Cup, and hit the ground running with new club Barca, Raphinha remains indebted to Bielsa.

"He is a coach who helped me a lot from the first moment I arrived at Leeds," Raphinha told Mundo Deportivo. 

"He always demands more, always demands maximum performance. He helped me get to the national team and helped me get to Barca. 

"If it wasn't for his teachings, as a group or individually, I probably wouldn't be here."

 

Raphinha spent only one season at Sporting CP and Rennes before heading to Leeds in October 2020.

Now at a fourth club in as many years, the Porto Alegre native has already made himself a fan favourite with his winning goal in this week's friendly against Real Madrid.

"I hope it'll be the first of many Clasico goals," Raphinha said. "Being a Clasico, it gave me a unique sensation, one that's difficult to explain. It made me very happy."

Barcelona new signing Raphinha believes the club's system favours his style of play, after he shone on his debut in a 6-0 win over Inter Miami. 

The Brazilian winger played the first half against the MLS side, scoring Barca's second goal and assisting two more, describing it as "one of the best" debuts he has ever had. 

Raphinha arrived from Leeds United in one of the Blaugrana's bigger deals of this transfer window, and immediately looked at home in their colours in Florida.

With the promise of a restorative campaign ahead at Camp Nou this term, the Selecao star does not fear that adapting to life at the club will be a problem, saying his approach to the game slots in neatly within their tactics.

"I don't think [it will be a problem], because it's a system that favours my style of play," he stated. "I already have the skill for playing wide as a winger.

"I came here, just like the rest did, to help Barca. I know that Barca can help me a lot, and the players. So, I think one helps the other and that's how we get the results.

"It's certainly very easy when you play with high-quality players, like the ones we have in our squad. Everything becomes much easier.

"Obviously, I'm adapting to the team's style of play, and I think they're going to help me a lot, and I'll do my best to help everyone."

Raphinha was arguably the pick of the players for Barca against Miami, and admitted that his dream debut was something he had hoped for - particular with a pre-season iteration of El Clasico against Real Madrid looming next.

"I am very happy to be able to score my first goal and to be able to play a good game," he added. "Obviously when you make your debut, you try to put in a good performance, and it was one of the best debuts I've ever had.

"I am very happy, and I hope to continue contributing to the team. Of course, playing a Clasico, we always want to score against the rival, and I really want to play these games, which for me are the best.

"By scoring goals we can achieve victory, which is the most important thing and helps us maintain confidence for the rest of the season."

Lucas Moura insists he is committed to Tottenham amid uncertainty over his future, as he expressed his desire to end a trophyless spell in north London next season.

The Brazil international revealed last month that the 2022-23 campaign could be his last with Spurs, though the forward's agent was quick to suggest his client remains an important part of Antonio Conte's plans.

Moura may have to settle for a rotational role, or play at wing-back as Conte previously hinted, due to the arrival of Richarlison in the off-season, with the former Everton man joining Harry Kane, Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min in Spurs' attack.

With just a year left on his contract, on which Tottenham hold an option for a further 12 months, Moura said his planned return to Brazil can wait until he has experienced success under Conte.

"I will turn 30 in August. I'm getting old already, but I feel very good mentally and physically," he told football.london. "I'm very, very happy at Tottenham. I love the club. I love the fans.

"I love everyone who works in the club, but of course I have a plan to go back to Brazil one day. I have at least one year in my contract, maybe two.

"I don't know if the club will want me to sign another contract but I'm happy here. I just want to have the best season this season. 

"I just want to win a trophy because this has been my objective here since the first day I arrived in the club, and I believe this season I can achieve this, and then we'll see next season what is the desire of the club."

The former Paris Saint-Germain attacker appeared 34 times across the 2021-22 Premier League campaign, scoring two goals and assisting six, while creating 34 chances.

That represented Moura's worst goal return when playing a full season in the English top flight, but he hopes to prove his worth in a bid to feature at the Qatar World Cup for Brazil in November.

"I have other targets, which are to go back to the national team," he added. "Why not play in the World Cup at the end of the year? It's very difficult but anything is possible.

"I have this hope and I will work for this. These are the two most important targets for now."

Moura's compatriot Richarlison is another who will aim to feature in Qatar for Brazil following his big-money move from Everton.

The 25-year-old scored (10) and assisted (five) more Premier League goals than any other Everton player last term, and Moura believes Conte's new signing could be a great asset.

"I met him two years ago on the national team. Quality player, very good guy, he will help us a lot because he has some experience in the Premier League," he continued.

"He is strong. His mentality is very good. He's a great addition for us. He's a very simple guy, very humble, very funny. It's always good to have a guy like this in the squad and I'm happy because he's Brazilian, so I have one more Brazilian with me now!

"He's always ready to play because we see he loves to play football. It's good to have a player like this. 

"This season we can see another Tottenham and I hope we achieve our targets because we have a quality squad and a great manager. We have the quality to win trophies and this is our objective.

"We know how difficult it is because we play in the Premier League and there are a lot of teams that can win. Also, the Champions League we know is not easy, but we have a great squad.

"We have stars like Harry and Sonny. We have a manager who is one of the best. We have a structure, an amazing training ground, an unbelievable stadium, great fans.

"We have everything we need to achieve. Now it depends on us. We need to work hard and show on the pitch we deserve to win."

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