Scolari denies Neymar reports
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has denied reports Barcelona star Neymar is being pressured to sit out Saturday's La Liga title decider with Atletico Madrid for fear he will suffer an injury setback.
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Neymar, who is expected to play a leading role for Brazil at this summer's World Cup, has not played since the Copa del Rey final defeat to Real Madrid on April 16. He is close to a recovery but is struggling to prove his fitness in time for this weekend's decisive match at the Camp Nou.
Marca reported this week that the Brazilian FA (CBF), as well as sponsors plus the player's father and agent, were concerned that the 22-year-old could be risked for the match and that he is being urged not to take part.
However, Scolari issued an official statement via the CBF website insisting Neymar's participation could be a major positive for Brazil.
"I do not just want him to play, I want them to be champions," Scolari said. "That will lift his morale and his self-esteem and, with that, the Brazil team also wins. It would also help him get back his match-fitness."
The CBF's medical chief, Jose Luis Runco, added that any decision on the player's fitness to play against Atletico was a matter for Barca to decide.
"This is a decision that is exclusively down to the club," Runco said in the statement. "In some moments there were concerns about an escalation of Neymar's problem, but we are fully aware of his condition and there is now no reason for fear."
Barca's medical staff are due to carry out more tests on Neymar's foot on Thursday and make a decision on whether it is possible he can play some part.