Luiz Earns Brazil Recall for June Friendlies

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Rio de Janeiro: Chelsea defender David Luiz has returned to Brazil’s national squad for football friendlies against Argentina and Australia next month.

The 30-year-old has not represented the Selecao for more than a year but earned a recall after impressing coach Tite with his performances in Chelsea’s English Premier League (EPL) title-winning campaign.

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus was also included in Brazil’s 24-man squad, having missed the team’s World Cup qualifiers in March with a foot injury.

Barcelona star Neymar and Juventus right-back Daniel Alves were surprisingly left out, having been given a break after hectic seasons with their respective clubs.

“The emotional side of the game drains us … the adrenaline is at a million miles per hour every single day, the players need mental rest,” Tite said at a press conference.

“There is team-building and there is consolidation, but this is about construction at the moment.”

Brazil will confront Argentina on June 9 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground before facing Australia at the same venue four days later.

As expected, China-based players Paulinho, Renato Augusto and Gil were among those named by Tite. New faces included uncapped Monaco centre-back Jemerson and Benfica goalkeeper Ederson.

Lionel Messi will spearhead Argentina’s attack against Brazil next month but there was no place in the squad for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.

Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi replaces Aguero in a squad believed to have been chosen by Jorge Sampaoli, the Sevilla coach who is poised to take over Argentina in a bid to rescue their World Cup hopes.

Playmaker Manuel Lanzini, who has enjoyed a good season for West Ham in the Premier League, gets his first international call-up.

Before they get back to the business of qualifying for Russia 2018 in August, Messi and Argentina play Brazil in a June 9 friendly in Melbourne in what is likely to be Sampaoli’s first game in charge of his country.

Four days later Argentina travel to Singapore for a friendly against the city-state.

Barcelona star Messi had a four-game ban from competitive internationals for swearing at an assistant referee lifted earlier this month, giving a major boost to Argentina’s foundering World Cup hopes.

They are fifth in qualifying in South America, with only the top four earning automatic places in Russia.

In addition to the absence of Aguero, there is also no place in the squad for Ezequiel Lavezzi, the forward who last year swapped Paris Saint-Germain for Chinese Super League (CSL) side Hebei China Fortune.

Brazil squad: Goalkeepers: Diego Alves (Valencia), Weverton (Atletico-PR), Ederson (Benfica).

Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Jemerson (Monaco), Rodrigo Caio (Sao Paulo), Thiago Silva (PSG), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Fagner (Corinthians), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Rafinha (Bayern).

Midfielders: Fernandinho (Manchester City), Giuliano (Zenit), Lucas Lima (Santos), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Coutinho (Liverpool), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Rodriginho (Corinthians), Willian (Chelsea).

Forwards: Diego Souza (Sport), Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Taison (Shakhtar).

Argentina squad: Goalkeepers: Nahuel Guzman (Tigres/MEX), Sergio Romero (Manchester United/ENG), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad/ESP)

Defenders: Emanuel Mammana (Lyon/FRA), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City/ENG), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla/ESP), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona/ESP)

Midfielders: Lucas Biglia (Lazio/ITA), Ever Banega (Inter/ITA), Angel Di Maria (Paris SG/FRA), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica/POR), Guido Rodriguez (Tijuana/MEX), Leandro Paredes (AS Roma/ITA), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham/ENG)

Attackers: Joaquin Correa (Sevilla/ESP), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/ESP), Gonzalo Higuamn (Juventus/ITA), Paulo Dybala (Juventus/ITA), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta/ITA), Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan/ITA).

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