European champions alleged to be readying an offer for Brazilian Olympian
Great Britain’s men’s football team vastly exceeded expectations by topping arguably the toughest group at the Olympics, though the nation’s odd obsession with ridiculing Stuart Pearce has denied them the deserved level of praise.
However, as encouraging as their progress has been, there is no question who the most impressive nation in the competition have been so far, the overwhelming 4/7 gold-medal favourites Brazil.
Mano Menezes’ side did what no rivals managed by winning all three of their group games and, just to ensure that they fully asserted their power, took the trouble of scoring three goals in each.
It indicates that the latest generation of exciting young talent could have the ability to make Brazil the dominant force in world football again heading into a home World Cup after a difficult decade, following an unremarkable start to Menezes’ reign.
The headline grabber of the new crop is quite clearly Neymar and having demonstrated to any doubters that he is capable of delivering on a global stage, rumours of interest from some of Europe’s top clubs has intensified once again.
The Santos striker has scored in two of Brazil’s three matches, one of those a stunning free kick against a Belarus team that his colleagues were struggling to break down, and is 5/2 to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea are reported to be the ones tracking the 20-year-old most enthusiastically, Roman Abramovich appearing particularly intrigued by their Olympic squad having signed Oscar and shown an interest in Hulk too.
The Blues are 16/1 outsiders to retain their Champions League trophy in 2012/13 despite a summer of heavy investment that has seen Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and the aforementioned Oscar arrive.