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Rivaldo tips Gabriel Jesus to replace Neymar as Brazil's "leader"

Rivaldo tips Gabriel Jesus to replace Neymar
© Reuters
Brazil legend Rivaldo tips Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus to be the "leader" of the team for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, taking over the mantle from Neymar.

Brazil legend Rivaldo has tipped Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus to replace Neymar as the national team's "leader" at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Neymar led Brazil to their first ever Olympic football gold medal on home soil in 2016, but his participation in the delayed 2021 Games is in doubt amid speculation that club side Paris Saint-Germain could block him from competing.

Jesus was also part of the 2016 gold medal-winning squad, and Rivaldo has tipped the forward to become the team's leader if he is chosen as one of the permitted over-age players.

"If things go according to my expectations then I think Gabriel Jesus could be the Brazilian leader in 2021 after helping Neymar on his 2016 conquest in Rio, scoring three goals throughout the competition," Rivaldo told Betfair.

"He was important on that Olympic campaign and now is a regular starter on Brazilian national team and could make the difference in Tokyo alongside with other good players such as Richarlison or Lucas Paqueta - which are also surpassing the limit age - or even Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo from Real Madrid.

"Brazil is an eternal favourite in every football competition, but our win in 2016 was the first Olympic gold medal in our history, so this is a traditionally tough tournament for us. I was close from the gold in 96 but didn't achieve it - like many other great players of the past - so this is a great challenge that not all the players can say they have achieved.

"But I think we have a strong enough squad to take us to the title this time. The Olympic team is commanded by Andre Jardine who I don't know particularly well, but from what I've heard he is a good person and a capable manager that should take this group of players into the latter stages of Tokyo 2021."

Jesus made his senior Brazil debut shortly after their Olympic success in 2016 and has since gone on to win 39 caps for his country, scoring 18 goals.

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Neymar takes part in a Paris Saint-Germain training session in August 2019
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