ANALYSIS - Raisa Simplicio & Rupert Fryer
On Friday, Brazil coach Tite will announce the first squad of a new cycle for the five-time world champions.
The Selecao return to Brasil Global Tour action in September with tests against USA in New Jersey and El Salvador in Washington, in what will be their first matches since the 2018 World Cup.
The double-header will kick-start a new era for the Selecao, who under the studious Tite will heed the lessons from Russia as they begin a new cycle ahead of Qatar 2022.
After two years of fine work with a consistent group of players, a number of new faces are expected to be included in Friday’s squad as Tite and his staff begin preparations for next year’s Copa America on home soil.
And there’s plenty of work to do. The defence, in particular, will need to be refreshed. 30-year-old Marcelo may be in with a slim chance of making the next Copa, but Thiago Silva (33), Miranda (33) and Dani Alves (35) all appear to have played their last World Cups for the Selecao.
Further forward, the midfield will need to be assessed, too. Casemiro will play a major role in the future of Brazil, but Paulinho (30), and Renato Augusto (30) will likely be phased out and Philippe Coutinho could yet return to the right.
Below, Brasil Global Tour take a closer look at a few of those who will be hoping to hear their names called on Friday’s announcement at CBF headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.
Having agreed a €45m switch to Spain before even having made a single senior appearance in senior football, Vinicius spent the last year making the transition into professional football with Flamengo. After a tricky start he settled and flourished, becoming one of the club’s key players and finding his goalscoring touch.
The flying forward impressed during pre-season for the European champions, but will Friday's squad come a little to early for him? Dubbed 'the new Neymar', it's curious to note that Ney's international career was also launched in the United States, in the Selecao's first match after World Cup 2010.
Brazil appeared to lack a proper penalty area presence at Russia 2018 and despite having two of the world's best centre-forwards in Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino, Tite is said to be keen to find a more traditional no.9 as a backup option.
21-year-old Pedro is fast establishing his reputation as the best centre-forward in domestic Brazilian football and already appears set to follow the likes of Thiago Silva and Marcelo from the Flu youth setup to one of the world’s biggest clubs. The leading scorer in the Brasileirao this season, the current Brazil boss has been watching Pedro closely over the last few weeks and reports in Brazil suggest he is certainly being considered ahead of Friday's announcement.
Another midfielder hoping to be the future of the Seleaco, Arthur has arrived in Barcelona and has already faced the daunting comparisons to Xavi and Andres Iniesta. The smart-passing, cerebral midfielder is something of an anomaly in modern Brazilian football and there are now high hopes for him both in Spain and back home.
Paulinho’s exit has opened up another slot in the midfield rotation and the former Gremio man will now have to navigate his new surroundings. He has shown encouraging signs in his early days in Spain and, having been called up by Tite once before, he appears likely to begin a long and successful international career next month.
Fabinho took a different route after joining Real Madrid as a youngster, finding his feet in the B team before Monaco converted him from right-back to holding midfielder over a couple of seasons that saw him establish himself as one of Europe’s most-wanted.
He will be hoping a switch to an exciting Liverpool side, led by Jurgen Klopp, will increase his international chances after he failed to even enter the conversation around Brazil’s potential World Cup squad earlier this year. 33-year-old Fernandinho's time with the Selecao appears to be coming to an end and Fabinho is the leading candidate to provide a backup option to Casemiro.
21-year-old wide forward Malcom has really come of age in France over the past 18 months, making the step up from promising youngster to the star of the show. Named after Malcolm X, he repeatedly provided the X factor for Bordeaux last term and his sensational form saw him become one of Europe’s most-wanted.
A Brazilian league title winner under Tite, his dynamism and guile cutting inside onto his left foot from wide has him tipped to play a big role in the Selecao’s future. He is joining an increasing Brazilian legion in Barcelona and appears well prepared for his leap into the big time.
The 21-year-old hit the ground running in the Premier League last term as his pace and physicality took English football by storm during the first half of the season. The former Fluminense man began the English season with 6 months continuous football already on the clock, however, and it came as no surprise that his form tailed off at the end of the campaign.
Everton certainly believe he can once again star this term as he is reunited with coach Marco Silva. There’s an awful lot of competition for players in his position in the Brazil squad, but Tite singled Richarlison out specifically for praise last year and is certainly being considered for next month's squad.
The in-form 22-year-old has been watched by Tite and his staff more than once this month and has been frequently tipped to be handed for his first international call-up. A versatile forward, Everton’s preferred position is now working from the left, from where he likes to cut inside and go for goal.
Like Richarlison, however, he faces stiff competition for places in a role in which Tite appears to have endless top-class options.
One of the great promises of Brazilian football, the Flamengo man made coach Tite’s list of reserves for this year’s World Cup after a breakthrough season in Rio. The dynamic, tricky attacking midfielder lit up the iconic Brazilian city with a series of outstanding performances this year. Much has also been made of his grounded and humble personality, too, despite heavy interest from some of the world’s leading clubs.
Tite is keen to add more invention to the centre of his midfield and Paqueta's ability to feature in a number of different midfield and attacking roles make him among the favourites to be handed a first international call-up this week.
21-year-old Guilherme Arana is one of those hoping to force 33-year-old Filipe Luis out of the squad and the left-back has the advantage of a previous working relationship with Tite at Corinthians. The Sevilla man is among a number of full-backs being closely observed by Tite and his staff.
Bayer Leverkusen's Wendell will hope to be in contention as will Porto's Alex Telles, who has recently returned from a loan spell in Italy with Inter Milan. Monaco's Jorge, however, may yet be at the front of the line, having been handed his international debut by Tite last year.
Tite's assistant Cleber Xavier was at the Morumbi to watch Sao Paulo take on Argentinian outfit Colon earlier this month, with young defender Eder Militao very much on his radar. The 20-year-old has since completed his move to Portuguese giants FC Porto and the promising young right-back is one of those singled out as a potential long-term successor to the great Dani Alves.
Also able to operate as a central-defender and in a holding midfield position, the versatile defender has been capped at youth level for Brazil and will be among those hoping to hear his name called out in Rio on Friday. With Danilo looking set for a backup role at Manchester City this season and Corinthians' Fagner now 29-years-old, right-back is one position in which Tite will hope to see some new blood.