Brazil's Neymar should not be given Copa or Olympics dilemma - Ronaldo

Brazil legend Ronaldo says forcing Neymar to decide whether to compete in the Copa America or Olympics this summer is "cowardly."

Barcelona forward Neymar, the current Brazil captain, has expressed a willingness to play in both the Copa America in the United States in June as well as the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

However, Barcelona are not obliged to release players for the Olympic tournament, in which each squad can only contain three players above the age of 23, and talks have taken place between the club and the Brazilian FA (CBF) over which competition he will participate in.

Former Barca and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo, who was part of the World Cup-winning squads in 1994 and 2002, said it was unfair to put Neymar in that position.

"This situation is very difficult for the player," he said. "I think it's cowardly that the player has to choose which competition he has to play in.

"What we see is that few care about the calendar as each time there are more games and more competitions. The players have fewer holidays.

"The best example is this situation, which is very bad for the player."

Ronaldo also won the Copa America in 1997 and 1999 and competed at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, when Brazil won the bronze medal.

Brazil have never won gold at the Olympics and Seleccao coach Dunga has previously said he would prefer Neymar to play in Rio.

Ronaldo said: "I would opt to play at the Olympics. It's an old dream, something untold if Brazil were to win the gold medal at the Olympics in Rio.

"I don't know what the situation is like but, ideally, what would be marvellous is to always have Neymar."

Since making his senior debut with Brazil in 2010, Neymar has scored 46 goals in 69 appearances.

"We have a guarantee that is Neymar," Ronaldo said. "His presence is always very important.

"He is going through a great time at Barca and what we Brazilians hope is that he is able to repeat that success with the national team."

Neymar, who helped Brazil win the silver medal at the Olympics in London in 2012, endured a difficult time in the Copa America last year, which was his first tournament as captain.

Brazil were eliminated by Paraguay in the quarterfinals in a game that Neymar missed after being banned for four games following a sending-off in the group stage.

For now, Neymar is focusing on 2018 World Cup qualification, with Brazil hosting Uruguay on Friday in Recife and then playing away to Paraguay on Tuesday.

Asked about the game against Uruguay, Ronaldo said: "I think Brazil are favourites. I predict a 2-1 result for Brazil."