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Rio de Janeiro will host the next World Cup in the summer of 2014, and it will be a very different event from the last one. Having hosted the World Cup in 1950, the city is now in the midst of a tourist boom. Though the economy has been hit by the global economic recession, it has retained its status as a favourite tourist destination and is expected this year to host some seven million visitors. But is that enough to support the event?
Neymar has criticised Brazilians supporting Argentina in Saturday’s Copa America final at the Maracana for supporting Lionel Messi.
Brazilian fans show no interest in this year’s tournament. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and last-minute changes when Brazil became the host of the Copa after CONMEBOL announced that Argentina and Colombia would no longer host the event.
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Brazilian SporTV journalist Fabiola Andrade was one of the fans who openly expressed their support for Argentina in the final.
Andrade explained his controversial decision on Instagram, writing: Before you stone me in the public square, let me explain: I love Brazil. Brazilian football…. I have Argentine friends. But I won’t vote for Argentina in the Copa America final because of them, no. I applaud because I love #football and @leomessi This man needs to win the title in his country’s shirt! For justice!
Messi, 34, is the tournament’s top scorer with four goals and another five assists. The striker also wants to win his first major international tournament for Argentina after four failed attempts.
Above all I want to win the title with the national team, Messi said after Argentina beat Colombia on penalties in the semi-finals. We want to win the Copa more than ever.
Neymar wants Brazilian fans to support the team ahead of the Copa America final against Argentina. Photo: MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images
After the defending Copa Brasil champion beat Peru 1-0 in the semi-finals, Neymar said he would love to play in the final against Argentina and against Messi’s former teammate and friend at Barcelona.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker, who missed the 2019 Copa triumph in Brazil through injury, is shocked that some of his countrymen are even considering backing eternal rival Argentina.
Neymar wrote on Instagram: I am a Brazilian with a lot of pride and a lot of love. My dream has always been to see the Brazilian national team and hear the fans sing. I’ve never attacked Brazil for anything it stands for, be it sports, modeling competitions or the Oscars. I’m Brazilian. Who is Brazilian and does it differently?
Neymar then added: Okay, I respect that, but go ahead– with a big word at the end of the sentence.
Brazilian defender Marquinhos also called on fans to show more support ahead of the final.
It’s a difficult [situation] because we see so many Brazilians, so many people in the press who are against the Brazilian team and don’t support it, who don’t have the joy and pride to see the team, to cheer us on, the PSG player said.
The fans, the journalists, the Brazilian people, no matter how difficult the moment is, can send out positive energy, good energy, because the national team is a source of pride for the Brazilian fans.
For our part, we tried to represent the team and the fans as best we could and give our best on the field, and we did that at the Copa America.
Brazil are aiming for their sixth Copa title since 1997, while Argentina have not won the title since 1993.
Rio de Janeiro authorities announced Friday that they would only allow a limited number of spectators at the final: 6,500 spectators, or 10% of the famous stadium’s capacity, would be allowed to attend the event in person.
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