Brazil coach Tite angrily denies any contact with Real Madrid
Tite describes rumours of links to Spanish giants as a lie
Brazil’s coach Tite during a training session at the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna on the eve of their friendly match against Austria. Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
Brazil coach Tite angrily denied on Saturday that he had been in contact with Real Madrid over the possibility of replacing Zinedine Zidane, who resigned at the end of May, dismissing the suggestion as a lie.
Tite was asked about reports that he was set to take charge of the Champions League winners during a news conference ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Austria, although it was not clear where they had originated.
“This is a disrespectful attitude and a lie,” he said. “I haven’t been in contact with anyone. Gilmar Veloz [Tite’s agent] hasn’t been in contact with anyone.”
“I’m doing what I like and I’m in the best possible place; I’m in a place that any other professional would like to be. I value this enormously, and that’s why I’m upset.”
The foursome were all included as Tite confirmed his team for Sunday’s match at the Ernst Happel stadium, Brazil’s last before they open their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17th.
Many feel the four would form the ideal attacking line-up at the World Cup but, for one reason or another, they have only played around 60 minutes together, split between three matches.
Tite did not promise that Sunday’s team would be the one that starts the tournament in Russia.
“I don’t know if I can say that this will be the team at the start of the World Cup. The match [against Austria] and the performance will decide that.”
Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, will start a game for the first time since he fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle playing for Paris St Germain in a French league match against Olympique Marseille on February 25th.
The 26-year-old made his comeback last Sunday when he scored in the 2-0 friendly win over Croatia after coming on in the second half.
“We are following his progress in training, in matches and keeping an eye on his level of confidence,” said Tite.
“I’ve told him not to pull out of tackles, and not to stop competing, because the best way to recover his rhythm is with tough and high-quality training.”
Brazil have lost only one game out of 20 since Tite was appointed in June 2016 and have regained their confidence which was shattered by the 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany at the last World Cup.
Tite said Sunday’s match against Austria, who failed to qualify for the World Cup but are unbeaten in eight games, would be a “real challenge.”
“Emotionally, it’s probably the most difficult one to play,” he said. “It’s one week before the start of the World Cup, there’s the matter of performing well, a risk of injury, a loss on confidence.”