NEYMAR NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO LEAD BRAZIL - LEONARDO
year-old forward, despite him boasting an
impressive strike rate at the national team
Former Brazil international Leonardo says he
doubts Neymar has the maturity required to be the
leader of the national team.
The 23-year-old was appointed captain of Dunga's
side in the aftermath of World Cup 2014, but was
criticised for allowing his emotions to get the better
of him at this summer's Copa America.
Neymar was sent off following the group stage
defeat to Colombia after headbutting Jeison Murillo
and was consequently handed a four-match ban,
which ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.
Leonardo - who has previously been vocal in his
criticism of the Barcelona forward - has now
repeated his concerns over the player's
He told SporTV : "Neymar is a great player, but he
doesn't have the maturity to lead Brazil and take the
team by his hand."
Leonardo did, however, point to the former Santos
star's improvement since leaving his homeland for
Barcelona in the summer of 2013: "I criticised him a
lot when he played in Brazil.
"He took the ball and only wanted to dribble with it
and make the difference. Today, he can also play
without the ball. I didn't think he could do that - it is
a question of mentality.
"Previously he didn't take free-kicks. Now, he's a
big threat from set-pieces. There are a multitude of
things a great player can improve on."
Neymar scored 39 goals in 51 games in all
competitions for Barca as they won a European and
domestic treble under Luis Enrique.
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