Brazil boss Tite refuses to accept criticism of Neymar as a central player, with the man in charge of the 2022 World Cup favourites claiming that any coach playing his star man on the wing is “a donkey”.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar is considered by some to have lost his spark since being moved inside off the flanks from the wide role he played when starring alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and transfer talk has now resurfaced as a result.
He is operating down the middle in France, with Messi and Kylian Mbappe either side of him, while he plays as a central No.10 for Brazil, with the 30-year-old forward now up to 74 goals for the Selecao.
Is Neymar better on the wing or down the middle?
Tite has no doubt they Neymar should be at the centre of any attacking unit that he graces, with questions of his ball retention shrugged off as his game is all about trying to make things happen.
The Brazil boss has told the Sextra Estrela podcast: “He's not a problem, he's a solution.
“They say Neymar will make more mistakes playing there. But it's his position that makes him make more mistakes, because everything he does in creative terms there will be decisive.”
Tite went on to say: “If a coach plays Neymar on the wing, I will call him a donkey. It considerably restricts the creative capacity of a player with these qualities.
“Creativity is not constancy, it is contingency, it is circumstantial. He will make more mistakes, yes, because his creative ability is where he is required.”
Neymar’s record at PSG
The South American superstar made a record-breaking €222 million (£200m/$262m) switch to PSG from Barcelona during the summer of 2017.
That move was made with the intention of becoming a leading man in his own right, having operated in the considerable shadow of seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi at Camp Nou.
He hit 28 goals through 30 games in his debut campaign, but has slipped slowly backwards since then.
Neymar’s returns across the last four seasons have been 23, 19, 17 and 13, respectively.
Those efforts have allowed him to reach 100 goals for the Ligue 1 champions, while collecting more major honours, but Mbappe has become the star man at Parc des Princes.
With Brazil, Neymar will lead them into another quest for global glory at the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year, with only three more goals required in order to match the all-time leading record of legendary former frontman Pele.