Brazil coach Tite and his staff will continue their preparations for March’s World Cup qualifiers this week with a trip around Europe to cast an eye over those plying their trade in Europe.
Tite and national team coordinator Edu Gaspar will attend a number of games together, including PSG’s clash with Barcelona on Tuesday, while assistant Cleber Xavier and physical training specialist Fabio Mahseredjian team up to watch other games.
Those on show will have to impress. Tite has led Brazil to six consecutive victories in World Cup qualifying since his June 2016 appointment with a settled squad.
He has called up just 32 players in that time, only 20 of whom have made it onto the field, and only Philippe Coutinho has forced his way into the starting line-up through anything other than injury or suspension.
However, Tite’s side have shown signs of evolution with every match, and while the coach has profited from a settled group, he has reminded those involved that nobody’s place is safe.
Below, Brasil Global Tour look at a number of hopefuls who will be attracting the attentions of Tite and his staff during their European tour.
DAVID LUIZ (CHELSEA)
PlayStation footballer? Once a figure of fun among English football pundits, David Luiz returned to Chelsea from PSG this past summer and has been one of the best players in the Premier League. His imperious form at the heart of Antonio Conte’s defence has been key to the form that has led the Blues 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. His resurgence could yet see him return to the squad for the first time since March 2016.
LUCAS MOURA (PSG)
The former Sao Paulo man is the best form of his career under new coach Unai Emery in France. He surpassed 200 appearances for the French giants this year and has already hit 14 goals this campaign – his best return since arriving in the French capital three years ago. With just three international caps to his name since 2013, the flying winger will be keen to impress the new boss.
First called into the squad under former coach Dunga, Fabinho was supposed to be pushing Dani Alves for a spot at right-back in Tite’s team. Instead, he will now provide competition for Casemiro and Fernandinho after Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim shifted him to the base of midfield. Fabinho has been a key component of the Ligue 1 leaders, who are proving to be one of the most exciting teams on the continent.
The best player in Portugal for the past two seasons, Benfica striker Jonas will still hope he is in the running to join the Brazil squad in March. Gabriel Jesus has solved Brazil’s problems at centre-forward, but there still appears no natural replacement for the Manchester City starlet. And with the goals still flowing for 32-year-old Jonas, he is another who will be desperate to impress.
Centre-back is a position where Tite has a number of options, but he has thus far settled for the rock-solid partnership of Marquinhos and Miranda. With just one goal conceded in six qualifiers, the likes of Thiago Silva and Gil find themselves on the periphery. Tite may look to begin blooding future defenders into the squad, and Jemerson’s superb form in Ligue 1 will certainly have him in contention.
Tite has a decision to make with his goalkeeper. Roma’s Alisson started all six qualifiers but his complete lack of game-time in Serie A is fast becoming a problem. Valencia’s Diego Alves has been one of Europe’s finest custodians for a number of years and, back after a terrible knee injury, he must be on the coaching staff’s radar as seek to settle on a No.1 for the long term.