Rio de Janeiro, Jan 14: Barcelona veteran DaniAlves and new Aston Villa signing Philippe Coutinho have been named in Brazil’s squad for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay, the Brazilian Football Confederation has said.
Alves, 38, last played for Brazil in September while Coutinho has not represented his country since October 2020, though he was an unused substitute against Colombia and Argentina in October.
Coutinho’s inclusion comes just three days after the midfielder joined Villa on loan from Barcelona after struggling for opportunities with the Spanish giants, Xinhua reports. “Coutinho is a playmaker and a finisher who is recapturing his best form,” Tite told reporters on Thursday evening. “He is ready to return. We envisage him getting back to his best.”
Brazil will meet Ecuador in Quito on January 27 and Paraguay in Belo Horizonte five days later.
The five-time world champions lead the 10-team South American zone qualifying group and have already secured a berth in football’s showpiece tournament later this year.
As expected, Tite also included Real Madrid quartet Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Casemiro and Eder Militao in his 26-man squad.
But there was no place for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, who is recovering from an ankle injury, while Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi was left out because he is not vaccinated.