Scolari defends Neymar selection

The veteran trainer insists he is happy with the starlet's performances and left the door open for Ronaldinho and Kaka after dropping him from his Confederations Cup squad
Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari has moved to defend the form of prized-asset Neymar amid claims the forward has been under-performing at club level in recent months.

The Santos star was among those included in Scolari's squad for the Confederations Cup which is due to take place next month, and the 64-year-old insists his domestic form merited selection.

"Neymar has been playing well," he told reporters. "I understand some people are going to disagree. He's playing very well from our point of view. It's what we expect."

Scolari alluded to Ronaldinho's exclusion from the squad - without directly referencing him - and suggested the omission stemmed from a belief that the former Barcelona forward could no longer prove an important addition to the team.

"Many times we're criticised for picking A, B or C. I was criticised several times for having Costinha on my team when I was in Portugal," he said.

"Costinha gave me everything I needed in a defensive midfielder, and he wasn't unanimous at his own club either. That's the criteria I adopt here, how important a player can be for the team."

Kaka was another high-profile omission from the squad, but the 2002 World Cup-winning boss refused to shut the door on handing recalls to veterans of previous squads in the future.

Scolari added: "History is not over for the veterans. This list is for the Confederations Cup only. We have a project to watch other players who might add more to our group to the World Cup.

"After the CC, we'll be going to Europe, to places like Russia, Ukraine, England, to watch players from there. We'll see how this ones go and who else can add more to us.

"To everyone who was left out: play, show us your football, prove you can add to the squad. They could be planting a little seed for the future."

Scolari's men begin preparations for the Confederations Cup by facing England in a friendly on June 3, before turning their attention towards Japan in the country's first fixture of the tournament.