Betting probe ongoing, Dorival Jr includes Lucas Paqueta in first Brazil squad

March 4 – New Brazil manager Dorival Jr has recalled West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta to the national team for the first time since an investigation began into suspicious betting.

Paqueta was named in a new-look Brazilian squad for the friendlies against England and Spain at the end of March as Dorival welcomed him back after the English Football Association failed to charge him as part of a betting investigation.

The Brazilian is subject to an inquiry related to bets placed on the midfielder receiving a yellow card in various Premier League matches with the authorities alerted by suspicious betting patterns.

“He continues to play normally, he was not punished, so it is a situation that is not for us to judge,” explained Brazil’s national team director Rodrigo Caetano. “A very high-level athlete, he does not have any investigation or accusations underway, at least for now.”

Paqueta was a headliner among the 26 names that Dorival selected for Brazil’s friendly matches. The manager, who succeeds former interim coach Fernando Diniz, included seven home-based players, including Palmeiras’s prodigy Endrick, as part of a larger overhaul. Up front, Gabriel Martinelli, Richarlison (injured) and Real Madrid pair Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr. are among the better known names.

The selection has 10 players from Premier League clubs.

“No revamp can be radical,” said Dorival after his first squad announcement.

“There needs to be a continuous change that is based on acknowledging what these players have done over the years. We will take a close look at some of these youngsters and project what they can do within two and a half years (to the next World Cup).”

Dorival will have his work cut out. Recently, Brazil failed to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris and, in World Cup qualifying, the five-time world champions sit in sixth place.

Following the friendlies against Spain and England, Brazil will turn their eye to the 2024 Copa America with two warmup matches against Mexico and the United States.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Ederson (Manchester City), Bento (Athletico Paranaense), Rafael (São Paulo).

Defenders: Danilo (Juventus), Yan Couto (Girona), Ayrton Lucas (Flamengo), Wendell (Porto), Beraldo and Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal), Murilo (Palmeiras)

Midfielders: André (Fluminense), Andreas Pereira (Fulham), Bruno Guimarães (Newcastle), Casemiro (Manchester United), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), João Gomes (Wolverhampton), Lucas Paquetá (West Ham), Pablo Maia (São Paulo).

Forwards: Endrick (Palmeiras), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Raphinha (Barcelona), Richarlison (Tottenham), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Savinho (Girona) and Vinicius Jr. (Real Madrid).

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