Brazil has omitted West Ham United midfielder Lucas Paqueta from its squad for next month’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers amid media reports that the English FA and FIFA have opened an investigation into potential betting rule breaches.
Brazil’s interim coach Fernando Diniz said he had omitted 25-year-old Paqueta at the last minute “for him to sort out his problems”.
It was reported that Paqueta was saying he had not placed any bets himself and was shocked by the reports.
His Premier League club West Ham was not immediately available to comment, while Reuters has also asked world soccer’s governing body FIFA for comment.
“Paqueta was on the list, he’s a player I like a lot. It’s a time for him to resolve these issues,” Diniz told reporters.
“People need time to sort these issues out. He’s a player I love, I have the best impressions of him.”
Paqueta has scored nine goals in 42 games for Brazil.
Forward Neymar, who joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal on Tuesday, has been included in the squad that will face Bolivia on September 8 and Peru four days later.
The 31-year-old has not played for Brazil since last year’s World Cup while recovering from an ankle injury sustained in February.
“Neymar expressed a desire for us to work together and a desire to rethink his participation in the national team,” Diniz added. “I spoke to him recently and he was very willing, extremely happy for the opportunity.”
Diniz, who is also Fluminense coach, will lead Brazil in his first games as interim manager while the country’s FA awaits the hoped-for arrival of Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti in 2024.
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