Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar Jr. made his FIFA World Cup debut in 2014, but that opportunity to represent the Brazil national team in this tournament could’ve come sooner.
In an interview with Brazilian journalist Duda Garbi, former Seleção manager Dunga was at the helm in 2010, when he had the chance to name an 18-year-old Neymar to the squad for South Africa.
However, Dunga had no interest in calling up the young forward, and even a decade later, he has no regret with his decision.
“No,” Dunga said. “That’s it. People have to tell the story. In January, [Neymar] was a substitute for Santos. And we only had a friendly in February, March.”
Instead of calling up Neymar, the Brazilian tactician decided to name his teammate at Santos FC instead. As a result, 20-year-old Paulo Henrique Ganso saw his name on the list of substitutes that can receive a call-up in the event of an injury due to the young player being “more asserted.”
Brazil would advance out of the group stages and make it past the Round of 16. Nonetheless, the Seleção would fall the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
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