Casemiro has escalated his row with the Brazilian football authorities over staging this month’s Copa America in the country amid a worsening Covid-19 crisis.

The Brazil captain said the entire squad, plus manager Tite, was in opposition to hosting the tournament on home soil after it was relocated at short notice from Argentina.

Reports last week told of how the Brazil squad were stunned at the news and senior players had a furious row with federation president Rogerio Caboclo.

The players, especially those travelling from overseas, will be exposed to the coronavirus crisis and feel it is insensitive playing in the tournament when over 470,000 people have died in the country.

There have been almost 17 million known Covid cases in Brazil with some 95,601 new cases recorded on Tuesday.

Casemiro was blocked by the federation from airing grievances at a press conference on Thursday but had his say after Friday night’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Ecuador.

The Real Madrid defensive midfielder said: ‘Everyone knows our position on the Copa America in Brazil. It could not be clearer.

‘We want to express our opinion more after the game against Paraguay [on Monday].

‘It’s not just me, not just the players who play in Europe. It’s everyone, including Tite. All together.’

The Copa America is scheduled to get underway on June 13 when Brazil play Venezuela in Brasilia.

The competition, already postponed from 2020 because of the pandemic, was originally set to be hosted by Colombia.

They were forced to withdraw because of social unrest and Argentina last week declined to stage the 10-team event because of a third wave of the pandemic there.

If Brazil’s players hold their tongues until after the Paraguay game, there will be just five days for confederation CONMEBOL to respond.

Coach Tite came under pressure after speaking out against hosting the tournament before the game with Ecuador, which Brazil won thanks to goals from Richarlison and Neymar.

Tite had been involved in the discussions with Caboclo and said he was ‘at peace with himself’ in the pre-match press conference. He added: ‘My adversities are very little in comparison with other people.’

Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have called for Tite to resign but there was visible support from the Brazil players for their coach after their goals.

The Brazilian president has defied social distancing policies, saying lockdown measures kill more than the virus.


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