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'Right decision to take captaincy from Neymar' - Kleberson questions Brazil star's attitude

3:27 AM EDT 6/12/19
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The 2002 World Cup winner feels that the Paris Saint-Germain attacker must mature in order to lead his country amid persistent off-field issues

Brazil officials made the "right decision" to strip Neymar of his duties as captain ahead of the 2019 Copa America, according to Kleberson.

The Selecao took the armband off the 27-year-old and handed it over to Dani Alves at the end of May after disciplinary issues overshadowed his 2018-19 campaign at club level.

Neymar was banned by the French Football Federation for his behaviour after PSG's cup final defeat to Rennes, which saw him appear to strike a supporter after a brief confrontation.

The ex-Barcelona attacker took up captaincy duties for Brazil after the 2018 World Cup, but only managed to last eight months in the role.

He has since been ruled out of the Copa America after sustaining an ankle sprain which will keep him sidelined for four weeks.

Kleberson, a former Manchester United midfielder who was part of Brazil's last World Cup-winning squad in 2002, feels Tite was right to take leadership responsibilities away from Neymar at international level.

“The coaching staff took the right decision to take the captaincy from Neymar," he told 

"Everyone in Brazil has a lot of respect and admiration for Neymar with his ability, but nowadays in football, when you do something wrong, everyone can see it.

"Neymar is still making mistakes off the pitch which affects his game on the pitch. I think everyone in Brazil agrees with the decision.”

Brazil are among the favourites to win this year's Copa America, having been drawn in Group A alongside Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela.

Tite's side kick off their campaign against Bolivia on Saturday and Kleberson is backing his fellow countrymen to go all the way, but is also wary of the threat posed by Lionel Messi and Argentina.

“Brazil can win the Copa America this year," he added. "I want to be there with all my friends and family in the Maracana. Especially if we get to the final against Argentina, it would be great to be there; what an occasion.

"Argentina have a strong rivalry with Brazil.

"That is the team Brazil need to be aware of, especially as they have Lionel Messi.”