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Brazil's revenge must come in Russia

Brazil
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Brazil could send 'least Brazilian' team of all time to '18 World Cup

Pele speaks to ESPN Brazil about his belief in Brazilian manager Tite and the challenges he faces of managing the national team in the modern era of football.
Brazil manager Tite insisted he will not rush Neymar back for the World Cup if the forward is not fit to play.

Brazil could be sending the "least Brazilian" team of all time to the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer, as manager Tite's reliance on foreign-based players continues to increase.

Of the current list of those called up by Tite for friendlies against Russia (March 23, in Moscow) and Germany (March 27, in Berlin), there are only three players that play in Brazilian clubs: right-back Fagner, of Corinthians, and centre-backs Geromel of Gremio and Rodrigo Caio of Sao Paulo.

This marks a huge contrast with the manager's first call-ups when he took over the national team, in June of 2016, after Dunga's departure.

Tite's Aug. 2016 picks featured eight players from Brazilian teams: goalkeepers Marcelo Grohe (Gremio) and Weverton (Atletico Paranaense), centre-back Rodrigo Caio, right-back Fagner, midfielder Rafael Carioca (Atletico Mineiro), playmaker Lucas Lima (Santos) and forwards Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras) and Gabriel "Gabigol" Barbosa (Santos).

Fewer and fewer Brazil-based players are getting the call from the national team as the World Cup approaches.

Tite's "forgetfulness" regarding players who work on Brazil soil could indicate that, in the World Cup which begins in June, Brazil might have its "least Brazilian" team of all time.

The forecast is that only two "Brazilian players" will go to Russia. Who has their place most guaranteed is Fagner, who worked with Tite in their time together at Corinthians. While in the other spot, the Brazil boss probably has to choose between Rodrigo Caio and Geromel.

In the event only two players that play in Brazil are selected by Tite, the national team will be, in fact, the "least Brazilian" since the World Cup began play.

Up to this point, the records were in 2006 and 2010, when only three players plying their trade in Brazil were called-up for the tournament.

Foreign-based players in Brazil's World Cup squad:
1930, 1938, 1950-78: 0 of 22
1934: 1 of 17
1982-86: 2 of 22
1990: 12 of 22
1994: 11 of 22
1998: 13 of 22
2002: 10 of 23
2006-10: 20 of 23
2014: 19 of 23

In 2006, those called up were Rogerio Ceni and Mineiro of Sao Paulo and Ricardinho of Corinthians. And in 2010, they were Robinho, who was at Santos, Flamengo's Kleberson and Gilberto of Cruzeiro.

The "most Brazilian" World Cups were 1930, 1938, 1950, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974 and 1978, when the squad consisted of only players from Brazilian clubs, and no "foreigners."

The final call-ups for this summer's World Cup will be announced within in the first 15 days of May.

Afterward, Tite's team will play two friendlies against Croatia and Austria, before making their debut in the tournament, against Switzerland, on June 17.

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