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 By Tim Vickery

Tite's Brazil World Cup squad taking shape but still places left to play for

Just months ahead of the 2018 World Cup, Tite has tough decisions to make with his Brazil squad.
Brazil's Tite has decisions to make as he rounds out his 23-man roster for the World Cup.

In a recent interview with the local press, Brazil coach Tite confirmed 15 of the 23 players he will be taking to the World Cup.

They were (and this is the way he referred to them) his 11 normal starters, plus four. The team base, then, is goalkeeper Alisson (Roma), full-backs (right and left respectively) Daniel Alves (PSG) and Marcelo (Real Madrid), centre-backs Marquinhos (PSG) and Miranda (Inter Milan; holding midfielder Casemiro (Real Madrid), midfielders Paulinho (Barcelona) and Renato Augusto...

 By Tim Vickery

Time is now for Neymar to show he can handle the heavy lifting with Brazil

PSG went 13 points clear atop Ligue 1 with a narrow victory at Toulouse, courtesy of Neymar's 19th league goal of the season.
Though he's not 100 percent sure of what his starting XI will be, Unai Emery sheds light on PSG's intense preparation for their UCL clash with Real Madrid.

The keys of Rio de Janeiro have been handed to King Momo, who has promised to rule for the next few days with no regard for decorum.

The world's biggest carnival has kicked off. All over the city there are informal street parties -- and the centrepiece is the purpose-built sambadrome, where over the next few nights the working-class organisations known as samba schools are putting on the parade.

It is all fiercely competitive. There is promotion and relegation, there is a title at stake and...

 By Alex Shaw

Ronaldinho's 'what ifs' are irrelevant, just celebrate one of the greatest ever

Ronaldinho has announced his retirement from football.

If you love football, or even just possess a passing interest in it, you adore Ronaldinho. Upon his retirement, there has been a tendency to lament his career as a mix of "what ifs" but such a solemn reaction doesn't do justice to the greatest player of his generation. Don't be sad it's over, smile because it happened.

For many 20-to-early-30 somethings, Ronaldinho was the original go-to guy on YouTube, a mesmerising mix of outrageous tricks, flicks and goals interspersed with the now-familiar trashy...

 By Tim Vickery

The brilliant Ronaldinho has retired, but his legacy is full of 'what if?'

The ESPN FC crew look back on Ronaldinho's legendary career and persona on and off the pitch after the Brazilian officially announced his retirement.

Now it's official: Ronaldinho will not play any more competitive football.

His older brother and agent, Assis, has announced that farewell matches and events will take place after the World Cup, but one of the most gifted players the game has ever seen will not be kicking any more balls in anger.

In truth, this only makes official what everyone already knew. Ronaldinho has not been seen in competitive action for more than two years. His last serious match was a Brazilian league game for Fluminense...

 By Tim Vickery

Firmino steps forward in win over City; will he be front and centre for Brazil?

The wonderful goal and fine all-round display of Roberto Firmino for Liverpool on Sunday may have consequences beyond ending Manchester City's unbeaten run in the Premier League. It may also secure Firmino's place in Brazil's World Cup squad.

Centre-forward has been something of a problem position for Brazil in recent times, as those who recall the displays of Fred in the last World Cup will testify. Some 18 months ago, when he took over as national team coach, Tite took a gamble on a teenager...

 By Chris Wright

Neymar trolls Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho over hairstyle on Instagram

Neymar and Philippe Coutinho go way back, having both come up through the Brazilian youth ranks together.

As such, the former congratulated the latter on following in his footsteps by joining Barcelona for big money earlier in the week, but couldn't resist the urge for a cheeky dig at his old friend's expense.

"Very happy for you, I wish you every success in the world, I'm sure you'll be very happy," Neymar chirped on his Instagram story after sharing a photo of Coutinho in his new kit.