Philippe Coutinho's hopes of representing Brazil at the World Cup are in doubt after the Aston Villa man suffered a quadriceps injury in training.

Coutinho was a surprise absentee from the matchday squad as Unai Emery's Villa beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Spaniard's first game at the helm on Sunday.

The former Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich creator has failed to score in 12 Premier League appearances this season – although six of those outings have come as a substitute.

The 30-year-old's poor form saw him miss out on Tite's squad when Brazil beat Tunisia and Ghana in September, though he has won five of his 68 senior caps for the Selecao this calendar year.

However, Coutinho's chances of travelling to Qatar appear to be slim after Emery ruled him out of Villa's upcoming trips to United in the EFL Cup and Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.

"Coutinho is injured," Emery said. "I don't know how long it will be, but today he couldn't play and he's not going to play until after the break. 

"It's a muscular injury. He's not going to play on Thursday or Sunday because he's out for longer."

Coutinho was omitted from Brazil's squad for their home World Cup campaign in 2014, but was a regular during the side's run to the quarter-finals in Russia four years later, scoring against Switzerland and Costa Rica.

Brazil are considered among the favourites to win the tournament, and face Serbia in their Group G opener on November 24 at the Lusail Stadium.

Xavi believes Lionel Messi could finally get his hands on the World Cup in Qatar, tipping Argentina alongside Brazil as favourites to land the trophy.

The closest Messi has come to being a World Cup winner was when Argentina were beaten by Germany in the 2014 final.

His unprecedented seven Ballon d'Or successes underline Messi's individual greatness, but he is missing the most valued team prize of all.

Winning the Copa America with Argentina last year gave him a first major title in senior international football, with Argentina getting the better of Brazil at the Maracana in the final.

Now, at the age of 35, and in his final World Cup, Argentina captain Messi goes again, with former Barcelona team-mate Xavi strongly rating the Albiceleste's chances.

"Argentina and Brazil are a step ahead of everyone else," Xavi said on Friday.

"I see them very strong as a team, also with individual players, physical and in terms of tactics and strategy as well, they're two great teams.

"I think they're a step ahead of some of the best European teams right now. But in a World Cup you can never know. Everything can become complicated."

Xavi, a World Cup winner in 2010 with Spain and now head coach at Barcelona, added: "The European teams are very important: Spain, France, even England, have got very strong national sides, but I think Brazil and Argentina are a step stronger."

Brazil are five-time World Cup winners but have not triumphed since Ronaldo's eight goals drove them to 2002 glory, while Argentina have carried off the trophy twice, in 1978 and 1986.

Messi, surprisingly, has never scored in the knockout rounds and is four goals behind Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina's World Cup record scorer (10 goals).

European teams have dominated the World Cup in recent times, with Italy, Spain, Germany and France winning the last four editions.

Flamengo president Rodolfo Landim admits it would be a "dream" to sign Neymar but doubts his club's chances, while claiming Cristiano Ronaldo would be a bench player for the Brazilian side.

Neymar is set to star for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar, where the South American giants are seeking to end a 20-year wait to win the tournament for a sixth time.

The 30-year-old, who has spent nine years in Europe since leaving Santos for Barcelona in 2013, has an uncertain future with Paris Saint-Germain, who were reportedly open to letting him leave prior to this season.

Flamengo have been linked with a sensational move to bring Neymar back to South America, with Manchester United's Ronaldo also linked, but Landim believes such moves are highly unlikely.

"I don't know how much Neymar earns – I've heard that it will be close to €4million per month," he said.

"If we consider that amount, he will not want to come to Flamengo given what I will be able to offer him, within the wage structure.

"He will have a better proposal from outside. It's natural, it's the market.

 

"There are clubs with much bigger budgets than Flamengo that will be interested in an exceptional player like Neymar.

"Having Neymar would be a dream for any club in Brazil, I have no doubts, but I think he will play outside of Brazil for some time because he is exceptional.

"The clubs that can pay salaries of exceptional players like him are abroad."

The Flamengo president was also asked about potentially signing Ronaldo, but he declared he would only get a spot on the bench.

He added: "I don't know where people get this from. They have a lot of creativity.

"We would hire him in substitution to whom? I want to ask you all: who would you take out of our team for him to play?

"I saw online, I am not sure if that is true, he would have received an offer of $242m for a two-year contract. If you take $242m and divide it by 24 months, it is around $10m per month.

"This is way over all Flamengo's pay cheque just for Cristiano Ronaldo to be on the bench waiting for Pedro and Gabigol."

Erik ten Hag's obsession with success has both surprised and impressed Manchester United midfielder Casemiro.

The Brazil international moved to United from Real Madrid as part of Ten Hag's spending spree heading into his first season Old Trafford, joining compatriot Antony in making the move to England.

Casemiro has made an impression at United already, and the same is the case for the 30-year-old when it comes to the former Ajax coach.

A mainstay of Madrid's midfield for much of the last decade, Casemiro has won the Champions League five times and LaLiga on three occasions, but acknowledged he has been taken aback by Ten Hag's will to win.

"After being in football for quite a while even though I'm only 30, his obsession for winning is what surprised me the most," he said in a press conference ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash against Real Sociedad.

"I think he's got many strengths, we all know it's a process and we're growing together. We want to win and he is obsessed with teaching us and making us better to the millimetre.

"That obsession with winning is something I've only seen with very few managers."

Ten Hag was equally positive about Casemiro's growing impact at United.

"He told me he needs a new challenge because at Real Madrid he won everything," he said.

"He was a big part at Real Madrid and they didn't want him to go but he had the feeling 'I have to go to another club, another league to prove myself and that shows his hunger. I really like that.

"From the first day he has come with that attitude in every training, every match and I really like it. He will be more and more important to our team."

Casemiro is set to be a key figure for Brazil at the upcoming World Cup, though he is putting any thought of the tournament to one side for now.

"This game is too important to start thinking about the World Cup," Casemiro said when asked if he was concerned about sustaining an injury prior to travelling to Qatar with his national team.

"I think any player who thinks like that will pick up an injury at the end. I'm focussing on the game."

Flamengo head coach Dorival Junior brushed off speculation linking him with replacing Tite as Brazil's boss following his side's Copa Libertadores triumph over Athletico Paranaense.

The Rubro-Negro clinched their third Copa Libertadores crown with Saturday's 1-0 victory over Athletico after Gabriel Barbosa's strike in the 45th minute.

The title comes less than a fortnight after Junior, who took over at Flamengo in June, guided the club to the Copa do Brasil crown

Junior has been linked with the Brazil head coaching role with Tite to vacate the position following the upcoming World Cup, with his latest piece of silverware boosting his case.

"It is very difficult to talk about hypotheses in my position," Junior told reporters after Saturday's triumph.

"My contract with Flamengo runs until the end of the year. My biggest prize would be to continue and continue the work.

"If there is a possibility [to be Brazil coach], it would be after the World Cup. You postulate a condition like that, but it's all still very distant and very vague.

"We have great professionals in the country, many respected, who also deserve an opportunity as the head of the national team. Tite is one of the great professionals in world football, at a very high level."

Instead the 60-year-old preferred to soak in the Copa Libertadores glory, praising goal scorer Gabriel Barbosa and tournament top scorer Pedro for their partnership.

Barbosa, who is known as 'Gabigol', was the 2019 Copa Libertadores top scorer when Flamengo also lifted the title, while he won the tournament's Best Player award last season when they lost the final to Palmeiras.

"It's a partnership that completes each other," Junior said. "It was no different than what I imagined in my head. I had no doubt that they could play together, with a closer relationship between them.

"Gabriel did not completely change his role. There was an alternation of movement and attacks in the last line. They know how to do this like no one else, a very great harmony.

"That small change made a difference… Perhaps Gabriel's contribution was even greater than what he had in 2019."

Flamengo's Copa campaign included 13 games, with 12 wins, one draw and 33 goals scored. Dorival Junior's side only conceded two goals in the knockout stages.

Prosecutors in Spain have dropped corruption and fraud charges against Neymar.

The Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star was one of several people accused of the charges in a trial relating to his move from Santos to Barcelona in 2013.

Other defendants in the case included Neymar's parents, the two clubs involved in the deal, former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, along with ex-Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.

The prosecution had been seeking jail time of two years for Neymar, in addition to a fine of €10million, but withdrew all charges on Friday.

Investment firm DIS, which owned 40 per cent of the Brazilian's rights when he was still at Santos, alleged it had missed out on money from the deal as the value had been understated.

Barcelona agreed a deal with Neymar in 2011 to sign him two years later for an overall fee of €57.1m, with €40m of that going to the player and his family, meaning DIS only received a percentage of the remaining €17.1m that went to Santos as the selling club.

DIS argued the deal was undervalued, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez appearing as a witness in court via videolink and revealing Madrid had made offers of €45m in 2011 and €36m in 2013 to sign Neymar, but he chose to join Barca.

The alleged offence which Neymar and his family was accused of is not punishable in Brazil.

Neymar had always denied the allegations, stating last week he had not been a part of negotiations regarding his transfer to the LaLiga giants.

A question we've likely all been asked in job interviews is: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Admittedly, it's difficult to imagine Roman Abramovich adding that to his list of essential questions ahead of meeting prospective Chelsea managers during his time as owner. After all, no head coach even reached three and a half years in one go under the Russian's ownership.

But Luiz Felipe Scolari went into his ultimately brief stint as Chelsea boss with a fairly clear vision for his future. Attending his first Chelsea press conference in Neuchatel, Switzerland, where he was based with his Portugal team for Euro 2008, 'Felipao' – 59 at the time – gave himself another five years in management.

"I will be 60 soon and I don't want to be technical coach forever. I want to work for five more years and then I want to retire."

More than 14 years later, Scolari is at long last about to call it a day. But first he has one last shot at glory with Athletico Paranaense in Saturday's Copa Libertadores final, a success that he believes would be the "pinnacle" of 40-year coaching career.

The catalyst

The vast majority of Athletico's squad weren't even born when Scolari took charge of his first Libertadores final in 1995.

He led his beloved Gremio – the team he supported growing up – to their second continental crown on that occasion thanks to a 4-2 aggregate defeat of Colombia's Atletico Nacional in August 1995.

A comical Victor Marulanda own goal – a sliced lob over 'scorpion-kick' visionary Rene Higuita – sent Gremio on their way, before Mario Jardel pounced on a spill by the eccentric Atletico goalkeeper to make it 2-0 before half-time in the first leg.

Paolo Nunes slammed in from close range early in the second half after Higuita again failed to hold the ball. Juan Pablo Angel's clever finish at least ensured Atletico returned home with something to fight for in the second leg, and Victor Aristizabal's early goal back in Medellin stoked the belief, but Dinho finished them off from the spot in the 85th minute.

That Gremio side was a pure embodiment of the ethos that eventually defined Scolari's playing style. It may not have been a team full of superstars, but they were tough and hard-working. It wasn't quite 'jogo bonito', yet they were a clinical attacking force and Scolari guided them to six trophies in three years.

Nevertheless, Scolari's second Copa Libertadores success in 1999 – with Palmeiras – was arguably the precursor to his most famous achievement.

For starters, it was Palmeiras' first Libertadores title. Secured with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Deportivo Cali after the two were locked at 2-2 at the end the two legs, the success elevated Scolari to an altogether different standing in management, proving his Gremio spell was no fluke.

"I cemented my career on that title, I really expanded my horizons and had the opportunity to grow. This was made possible by Palmeiras."

Global recognition

Less than a year after leaving Palmeiras for Cruzeiro in June 2000, Scolari landed the biggest job of them all.

With Brazil's World Cup qualification campaign in danger of failure, Scolari was brought in to get them over the line. He certainly achieved that.

 

The Selecao actually lost to Uruguay in Scolari's first game and they were humiliatingly knocked out of the 2001 Copa America by Honduras.

But they got the results to take them to Japan and South Korea, where they flourished.

Scolari's exclusion of Romario from the squad for the finals was contentious but soon forgotten once the tournament started, with Brazil inspired by the legendary trio of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

They were comfortably the best team on display at the 2002 World Cup, winning all seven games – the first side to win 100 per cent of their games at a single edition of the tournament since 1970 – as they claimed a record-extending fifth title.

 

Scolari's career was made. He helped right the wrongs of 1998, and there was an acknowledgement he could do no more for the team as he left his post after the World Cup.

He subsequently took over Portugal and led them to the final of Euro 2004 before bowing out at the semi-final and quarter-final stages at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 respectively.

Scolari couldn't recreate his Brazil success with Portugal, but he was a World Cup winner and nothing could take that away.

The greatest achievement of all?

That five-year spell in charge of Portugal was something of an anomaly – Scolari had never even managed four years in one job and he's enjoyed a fairly nomadic career ever since his Chelsea exit in early 2009.

But in this period was a gutting low that even threatened to overshadow his 2002 World Cup success.

Of course, Scolari was in charge when Brazil were demolished on home soil by Germany at the 2014 World Cup, with the eventual champions remarkably winning their semi-final encounter 7-1 in Belo Horizonte in one of the most infamous games in tournament history.

 

Brazil players left the pitch in tears, Scolari went on to resign, and many would suggest Brazil still haven't healed from that nightmare.

"I need a hug," Scolari said as he returned to Gremio later that month. "I came back at this moment because I need a hug, some affection."

He may not have brought success back to Gremio, but he did go on to enjoy a trophy-laden spell in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, and he even guided Palmeiras to Brasileiro glory as recently as 2018.

But there's something considerably more remarkable about the situation he now finds himself in at Athletico – yes, that's Athletico rather than Atletico after the club reverted to their founding name in 2018.

Scolari was hired in May as a technical director and he also took the reins as coach until the end of the season, given the task of steadying the ship after Athletico hit a difficult patch that culminated in an embarrassing 5-0 Libertadores defeat to Bolivia's The Strongest, costing Fabio Carille his job.

No one can argue with Scolari's impact, leading Athletico – whom he claims have only the 13th-biggest budget in Brazil – to just their second Libertadores final. Flamengo await and are favourites, but Scolari has presided over a shock by even getting his team this far.

 

"This career is coming to an end indeed," he told the Associated Press. "If we win the Copa Libertadores, it will be the pinnacle of a career for which I worked a lot. I never expected this much, winning all that I have won."

It would've been easy for Scolari to walk away for good in 2014, punishing himself for Brazil's humiliation by disappearing into a retirement brought about by self-deprecation.

But he fought on and stands on the precipice of an achievement he believes will outshine all that have come before.

Casemiro has highlighted the importance of Brazil remaining grounded after being labelled as one of the favourites to win the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

Brazil last lifted football's most prestigious trophy 20 years ago, when Ronaldo Nazario scored eight goals as Luiz Filipe Scolari's team triumphed in Japan and South Korea. 

However, Tite's team have been tipped by many to end that drought this year, with the Selecao topping the FIFA World Rankings ahead of the tournament and seeing the likes of Neymar and Vinicius Junior start the club season in fine form.

Speaking to Manchester United's media channels, Casemiro said: "There are two sides to it. Of course, there's no hiding from the fact Brazil are favourites, but the favourites don't always win in football, the favourites aren't always champions.

"We know there are other national teams doing some great work, teams that are also favourites. Football, nowadays, speaks for itself. We know there are other teams playing very well.

"We know our responsibility, we know we have to respect the teams we come up against. 

"It's inevitable when we talk about Brazil, though we do this with our feet on the ground and a lot of respect for our opponents."

With 65 senior caps to his name, Casemiro appears a certainty to feature when Brazil open their Group G campaign against Serbia on November 24, and he could be joined by United team-mate Antony.

The winger has scored three goals in his first six Premier League appearances since joining Red Devils from Ajax, and now hopes to make an impact for Brazil on the grandest stage of all.

"My first call up to the Selecao was this year, so it's a wonderful experience for me," Antony said, being interviewed alongside Casemiro.

"I've always dreamed of putting on the Brazil shirt, today I can live that dream leading up to a World Cup.

"Putting on the national shirt, representing your country and your family is very important to me. I hope to be putting it on more and more and make history with the Brazilian national team."

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz now know their opponents in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after the draw on Saturday in New Zealand.

The Girlz have been drawn in Group F alongside powerhouses Brazil, France and either Taiwan, Panama, Paraguay or Papua New Guinea.

Brazil has been to nine World Cups with their best result being runners-up in 2007 while the French have been to five, most notably finishing fourth in 2011.

Jamaica will open their campaign against France on July 25 in Sydney before facing Chinese Taipei/Panama/Paraguay/Papua New Guinea on July 29 in Perth then battling Brazil on August 2 in Melbourne.

“Excitement,” was Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson’s reaction when asked about the draw.

“It was a long day of anticipating. The draw itself was a draw with some exciting teams that play good football so we have to come out and try to match them.”

Jamaica was also drawn against Brazil in the 2019 World Cup, suffering a 0-3 loss in Grenoble.

“This is a totally different Brazil side. It’s a younger team with a different coach. Obviously, we have our work cut out against a fast, skillful Brazilian team so we have to be ready.”

Ronaldo Nazario ranks himself alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona as part of a "very special group" of football's greatest ever players. 

Legendary forward Ronaldo led Brazil to their most recent World Cup triumph 20 years ago, scoring eight goals as Luiz Felipe Scolari's team sealed the country's fifth title in Japan and South Korea.

No Brazilian has ever bettered Ronaldo's tally at a single edition of the tournament, while his total return of 15 World Cup goals has only been beaten by Germany's Miroslav Klose (16).  

While Ronaldo believes his exploits put him in the pantheon of footballing greats, he told the Guardian it was difficult to compare his abilities to those of players from different generations.

Asked to choose between seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi and another Argentina icon in Maradona, Ronaldo said: "That's unfair! 

"I think there is a very, very special group where you have Diego, Messi, [Johan] Cruyff, [Franz] Beckenbauer, Pele, [Marco] Van Basten, Ronaldinho. I would include myself. 

 

"Let the fans say, let them debate it in the bars. But you can't rank them, can't compare generations. 

"People call me the 'original' Ronaldo but there were others – and they weren't false. 

"I'm not the only one, and more will come along and be better than me in everything. I did what I could, the best I could."

Brazil's hopes of repeating their 2002 World Cup win will depend largely on the form of Neymar, who has been involved in 42 per cent of the Selecao's World Cup goals since making his tournament debut in 2014 (8/19 – six goals, two assists).

Ronaldo compared the abilities of the Paris Saint-Germain forward to those of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, insisting no football fan could fail to enjoy watching him play. 

"People love him a lot," Ronaldo added of Neymar. "If we talk specifically about football, I doubt there's anyone who doesn't love him. His private life transcends football, but I'm not interested. 

"He's daring, has skill, variety, is quick, scores goals, has personality. You could compare him to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, even though they are from a different planet. 

"On the pitch Neymar is one [thing], then people mix in all the other stuff."

 

Former Brazil forward Ronaldo admits he would "love" to see Pep Guardiola or Carlo Ancelotti take the reins of the Selecao, stating it would be a "historic" move.

With the Qatar 2022 World Cup set to start next month, Tite's side are bidding to break a two-decade European hold on the sport's greatest prize, led by talents such as Neymar, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo.

But regardless of their ultimate tournament performance, the 61-year-old's tenure in charge could well be coming to an end, with pundits floating the Manchester City and Real Madrid bosses as potential successors.

In a country where the national team has always been led by a native, there is significant pushback to the suggestion of an outsider - but Ronaldo believes it could prove a watershed moment for the Selecao.

"I would love it," Brazil great Ronaldo told The Guardian. "A European not just with the Brazilian national team but the entire Brazilian football industry.

"A Pep or an Ancelotti could be historic, it could change our history for 100 years."

Brazil last won the World Cup at Korea-Japan 2002, and entered the 2014 edition - which they hosted - as home favourites, before a stunning 7-1 semi-final collapse against Germany.

As a squad headlined by Neymar - who is closing in on Pele's Selecao goalscoring record - prepares for their latest tilt however, Ronaldo sees no reason why they cannot break their barren run this time around.

"There's been a European dominance," he acknowledged. "France, Spain and Germany are always there. England produced a great Euros [campaign].

"But Argentina have gone 35 unbeaten. Brazil look very good, although that doesn’t count for anything.

"In Brazil, we want to win. Let's see what Tite does. He has options up front, very good ones.

"Vinícius has to start – he would start in any team in the world. On the right, Raphinha is playing incredibly, but we have Rodrygo, who would get in anywhere. Then there's Neymar. He's got the desire."

Antonio Conte allayed fears of Richarlison missing the World Cup, but confirmed he will not be available for Tottenham's game with Manchester United on Wednesday.

Richarlison suffered a calf injury in Spurs' 2-0 victory over his former team Everton and was taken off in the 52nd minute before later being seen on crutches, causing concern he could face a race against time to be fit for Brazil's World Cup opener against Serbia on November 24.

In a tearful interview after the game, Richarlison told ESPN Brazil: "It's kind of hard to say because it's close to the realisation of my dream."

But when questioned over Richarlison potentially missing the World Cup, Conte had an optimistic message.

"The injury of Richarlison, he's [having] a scan and then we will see how long he needs to recover," Conte told reporters. "But for sure against United, he's not available.

"I can confirm that the player is not risking not playing the World Cup, absolutely."

Conte was unsure whether Richarlison's fellow forward Dejan Kulusevski would be fit for Wednesday's game at Old Trafford, after the Sweden international missed the Everton match with a hamstring injury.

"Kulusevski is working, we'll see," Conte added. "We have to go day by day with him.

"The medical department are working a lot to try to recover him, but we don't know about the game against United."

Juventus have confirmed defender Bremer has sustained a hamstring injury that will keep him out for close to three weeks.

Bremer, who signed for Juve from Torino ahead of this season, has started all 10 of the Bianconeri's Serie A games this season.

The 25-year-old made his debut for Brazil in September, playing 44 minutes as a substitute in a 3-0 friendly defeat of Ghana.

However, he now faces a race to be fit in time to make Tite's squad for the World Cup.

Juve confirmed on Monday that Bremer, who was taken off in the 52nd minute of Saturday's win over his former side Torino, had suffered a "low-grade lesion to the hamstring of the left thigh."

Bremer faces approximately 20 days out of action, meaning he will miss games against Empoli, Benfica, Lecce, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter but might be fit to feature for Juve in matches against Verona and Lazio ahead of the break for the World Cup, which starts on November 20.

Brazil's first game sees them take on Serbia four days later. While Bremer's place in Tite's squad was by no means guaranteed, the Selecao will be hoping Tottenham forward Richarlison – who has been a key player in recent seasons – recovers from a calf injury in time to make it to Qatar.

Tottenham forward Richarlison tearfully admitted he fears the injury sustained in Saturday's win over Everton could crush his dream of representing Brazil at the World Cup.

Richarlison was substituted early on in the second half of Spurs' 2-0 Premier League victory against his former side Everton at Goodison Park with a calf injury.

The 25-year-old left the stadium on crutches and will undergo an MRI scan on Monday, but he has already been ruled out of Wednesday's trip to Manchester United.

He missed a month of action last season with a similar injury and is now worried about a comparable lay-off, with Brazil facing Serbia in their tournament opener on November 24.

"It's so close to the realisation of my dream," he told ESPN Brasil with tears in his eyes. "I've already suffered a similar injury to this, but I hope it can heal as soon as possible.

"It's hard to talk at this moment, but let's see, I hope to recover. Monday, I have tests to do, but even walking hurts. Let's wait. I have to stay positive if I want to go to Qatar.

"It's all so close, it's about a month to go, and we've been getting ready, working every day so that nothing serious can happen. 

"Unfortunately, I had this calf injury, but now it's just a matter of waiting, doing the treatment every day so that I can recover as soon as possible."

Richarlison has scored just twice in 13 appearances since joining Tottenham from Everton, both of those goals coming against Marseille in the Champions League.

He has been capped 38 times for Brazil and has scored seven times in six appearances this year, making him a certainty to be named in the squad if fit.

Brazil boss Tite, spoiled for options in attack, has until November 14 to name his final 26-man squad – though most competing nations are expected to do so much before then.

Record five-time champions Brazil follow up their opener against Serbia with group games against Switzerland and Cameroon on November 28 and December 2 respectively.

Ronaldo has revealed he is in therapy following a battle with depression as the Brazil great bemoaned the way mental health problems were "absolutely ignored" during his playing days.

The former PSV, Barcelona, Inter and Real Madrid superstar was widely recognised as one of the finest players of his generation.

Ronaldo went to four World Cups with Brazil and won both the Golden Boot and the Silver Ball in their 2002 success, having played no part in the Selecao's 1994 triumph.

But he remarkably only won two domestic league titles (both in LaLiga with Madrid) as his career was hampered by injuries.

In a new documentary on DAZN, Ronaldo discussed mental health in football with former Madrid and Brazil team-mate Roberto Carlos.

And 'O Fenomeno' was asked further about his own struggles in an interview with Marca, confirming he had suffered from depression.

"Today I am in therapy," Ronaldo said. "I have been in therapy for two and a half years, and I understand myself much better than before.

"But then again, I'm from a generation in which you were thrown into the arena and you had to do your best without the slightest hint of drama.

"I look back, and I see that yes, we were exposed to a very, very big mental strain and without any preparation for it.

"Also because it was the beginning of the internet era, with the speed at which information travels. At that time, there was no concern about the mental health of the players.

"Today players are much better prepared, they are given the medical attention they need to face the day to day, and players are studied more: the profiles of each player, how they react, how they should react.

"In my time, there was none of that, unfortunately, because we have known all our lives that soccer can cause a lot of stress and be very decisive for the rest of our lives."

He added: "The reality is that we didn't even know this kind of problem existed. It was absolutely ignored among our generation.

"Many, obviously, have gone through terrible times, even depression, because of the lack of privacy, the lack of freedom.

"It is true that the problems were very obvious, but the solutions were not very available."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.