Copa America

Brazil's Tite hails Neymar but stops short of Ronaldo and Romario comparisons

Tite heaped praise on goalscorer Neymar, who guided Brazil to a 3-0 victory over Venezuela in their Copa America Group B opener in Brasilia.

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Brazil boss Tite hails Neymar but stops short of Ronaldo and Romario comparisons

Brazil coach Tite lauded Neymar after the superstar inspired the Copa América champions to a 3-0 win against Venezuela in Sunday's curtain-raiser.

Neymar scored and was involved in the two other goals as Brazil kicked off their title defence in victorious fashion behind closed doors in Brasilia. Marquinhos opened the scoring following Neymar's corner in the 23rd minute before the PSG star converted a penalty after the hour mark.

Neymar moves to within 10 goals of Pelé

It was Neymar's 67th international goal – just 10 shy of Pelé's all-time record. Since making his Brazil debut in August 2010, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has scored 48 more goals than any of his Seleção team-mates.

Neymar then provided the cross for substitute Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa to complete the scoring in the final minute of normal time as Tite refused to make comparisons with Brazil greats Ronaldo and Romario.

"When Neymar is well physically and well in his head, good things happen," Tite told reporters after the 29-year-old created seven chances against Venezuela – the most by any Brazil player in the Copa America since his international bow. When you have a player with the technical quality that he has, you gain in assist ability, with the left foot or with the right foot, and he becomes an unpredictable player. When you stop him in a more advanced position on the field of play it is better for him, because the opponents are afraid of making him an infraction in a dangerous place on the field, so we structure the team so that he receives fewer balls, but to do it in a more efficient way for the creation of the game. It would be an injustice to compare players from different eras, because the players of my generation were extraordinary, Neymar is also extraordinary, and a while ago Ronaldo and Romario were also extraordinary. There are different stages and moments, so you have to be very careful not to compare them."