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CRAQUES

Who are the new faces in Brazil’s first post-World Cup squad?

Tite has called up no fewer than nine uncapped players for Brazil's friendlies against USA and El Salvador

‘Craque’ is one of the best words in football.

Think ‘world class’, but more informal. Think cream of the crop. BDE. Good and they know it.

Brazil’s latest squad for the friendlies against USA and El Salvador features the man who defines the term ‘craque, in Neymar, alongside nine uncapped players. Here’s a little introduction.

Power moves only

EPA
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Power moves only

Neto (Valencia)

At the age of 29 goalkeeper Neto is a relative latecomer to the international scene, although he did win a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics as part of Brazil’s Under-23 squad.

Neto started out at Atletico Paranaense, playing two seasons before leaving domestic football and signing for Fiorentina.

After five seasons at Fiorentina, only two of which were as first-choice, he moved to Juventus to be Gianluigi Buffon’s understudy.

He’s now Valencia’s no.1 but has failed to keep a clean sheet in three La Liga starts this season. Alisson’s starting spot seems very safe for now.

Strikers can’t miss him

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Strikers can’t miss him

Hugo (Flamengo)

It appears Tite shares Gareth Southgate’s love for random third-choice goalkeepers, having called up 19-year-old Hugo.

The goalkeeper is still playing for Flamengo Under-20s, so his inclusion in the squad came as a surprise.

Ever wondered what it feels like to be called up for you country? Here’s a little snapshot. No, you’re crying.

Felipe (Porto)

Felipe has worked his way up from the third division of the Sao Paulo state football championship with Uniao Mogi to the Brazil squad, via spells at Bragantino, Corinthians and Porto.

His first season at Corinthians was a successful one. Felipe watched on from the bench as Corinthians beat Chelsea 1-0 to lift the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

Now the 29-year-old is one of nine Brazilians currently playing for Porto, one of whom joins him in the latest Brazil squad.

Centre-back looks fun

EPA
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Centre-back looks fun

Eder Militao (Porto)

As we were saying…

Eder, who’s comfortable playing in defence and midfield, only made his debut for Sao Paulo last year before signing for FC Brazil Porto in August.

The European Golden Boy nominee is the youngest outfield player in the squad. No pressure.

Arthur (Barcelona)

‘He’s really similar to Xavi’.

Some appraisal, especially given those words came from the mouth of Lionel Messi.

Who are we to argue with the GOAT?

So relaxed he’s almost horizontal

USA TODAY Sports
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So relaxed he’s almost horizontal

Lucas Paqueta (Flamengo)

Paqueta’s ability has seen European vultures hovering over Flamengo, with PSG said to be especially keen to activate his €50million release clause in January.

The 21-year-old, like Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus, is a new breed of Brazilian forward who combine fluid feet with gutsy work-rate.

Expect nutmegs and broken ankles galore.

Andreas Pereira (Man United)

United fans got a glimpse of Pereira’s talents when he started their opening game of the Premier League season against Leicester.

Pereira followed that impressive performance by being hauled off at half-time of the 3-2 loss to Brighton, and he hasn’t been seen since.

There’s definitely a player there, but whether he’ll get enough of a chance under Jose Mourinho remains to be seen.

Single-handedly bringing back frosted tips

EPA
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Single-handedly bringing back frosted tips

Richarlison (Everton)

A man who needs little introduction.

Richarlison has given fantasy football managers a hell of a ride this season, scoring three goals in three games but picking up a red card against Bournemouth in his last game.

Everton’s first Brazilian? Rodrigo Beckham, who played four games during the 2002/03 season before heading back to Botafogo.

Off to play a couple games of Angry Birds

Reuters
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Off to play a couple games of Angry Birds

Everton (Gremio)

From one Everton to another.

Everton has been at Gremio since 2013, winning the Copa Libertadores- South America’s answer to the Champions League- in 2017.

Unlike Arthur, a team-mate at Gremio, Everton is still plugging away in Brazil and has yet to be lured away by the call of European football.

Enjoying a spot of water polo

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Enjoying a spot of water polo

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