Neymar could lose Brazil captaincy as Dunga hints at change

Brazil coach Dunga has suggested he could take the national captaincy from Neymar to allow the Barcelona forward to focus more on performing at his best on the pitch.

Neymar has been Brazil's leading star for some time and Pele recently told ESPN FC that the 24-year-old is the only player in the current squad who has the traditional flair known as "ginga."

He was named captain in September 2014, after the disappointment of their shock 7-1 World Cup semifinal defeat to Germany in the forward's absence, and Dunga said at the time: "We have to have a strong group so that Neymar can grow more each day, as a player, as a person, being an example to children."

However, the decision failed to pay dividends at the 2015 Copa America, when Neymar was sent off in a group-stage defeat to Colombia and subsequently hit with a four-match ban that ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament.

Speaking to SporTV, Dunga appeared to suggest that the captaincy had made Neymar more likely to take too much responsibility on the field and hold possession too long.

"I am going to change some things, and I must speak with Neymar," Dunga said. "His way of playing and dribbling, which is so liked in football, does take him into collisions. It is the same at Barcelona. It's not about the armband. At first I thought making him captain would give him more security and make him feel more important."

He added: "To give Neymar the armband or not is the easiest thing. We will speak with Neymar.

"At Barcelona he is not captain and the same happens, so it is not about the armband, but all that is around him is much bigger than normal. I don't mean to say that there have not been mistakes sometimes, and we have spoken with him to reach a common place that is good for him, the national team and Barcelona, but principally thinking about Brazil and Neymar."

Neymar will sit out the 2016 Copa America due to his participation in the Olympics later this summer.