Brazil's Alisson tabbed to be first-choice at World Cup by coaches
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil -- Brazil's goalkeeping coaches have no hesitation in anointing Alisson as the team's No. 1 for the World Cup and are even comparing him to Germany's Manuel Neuer.
Goalkeeping coach Claudio Taffarel, who played three World Cups for Brazil and won the trophy in 1994, said Alisson has developed "amazingly" at Roma this past season and deserves to start in Russia even though it will be he his first tournament.
"Until recently we talked a lot about Neuer [as the best in the world]. After the 2014 World Cup he showed there was a standard to be followed. Alisson is entering in that standard, with safety and also a perfect game with his feet," Taffarel said at a news conference at Brazil's Granja Comary training ground in Teresopolis, outside Rio de Janeiro.
Neuer has not played since September after breaking a metatarsal in his left foot during training with Bayern Munich. He returned to action last week and was confirmed by Germany coach Joachim Low as part of his squad for the World Cup.
Goalkeeping assistant Rogerio Maia agreed that Alisson is ahead of Manchester City's Ederson and Corinthians' Cassio in the team's pecking order. Maia has known Alisson since he and older brother Muriel were at Inter Milan together, with the two coming from a family of goalkeepers in Southern Brazil.
"I was a part of Alisson's first professional game for Inter, I notice how much he developed. At Roma the improvement was massive, he knows more about the game, about marking, he knows how to use the left foot, the right foot. He is ready to play for Brazil now," Maia said.
The Brazil squad, minus the three players involved in Saturday's Champions League final, have all arrived at the Teresopolis training facilities for World Cup preparations, including injured star Neymar, who was back in training on Tuesday to give Brazil a big boost ahead of the World Cup.
Neymar has been sidelined since February after having surgery on his right foot but spent an hour training on the main pitch.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker was joined by Manchester City duo Gabriel Jesus and Danilo as he took part in drills, using his recovering foot to dribble cones and shoot from long and close range.
Neymar was cleared to take part in training after undergoing a medical exam earlier on Tuesday.
Barcelona forward Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho also joined the 20-man group on Tuesday and will take medical and physical tests.
Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino and Real Madrid duo Marcelo and Casemiro will complete the squad on Monday in London after they play the Champions League final in Kiev.
Brazil will train until Saturday in Teresopolis before traveling to London on Sunday to continue preparations at the Tottenham training ground until June 8.
After a friendly against Austria in Vienna on June 10, the Brazilians will set their Russian camp in Sochi for their World Cup campaign.
Brazil are in Group E with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia and play their first match on June 17 against the Swiss.