Barcelona to allow Neymar to play in Olympics but not Copa America

Neymar will not play for Brazil at the Copa America this summer, as a condition of Barcelona's allowing him to take part in the Olympics, club president Josep Bartomeu said Saturday.

Speaking to a group of Brazilian journalists ahead of Saturday's Clasico against Real Madrid, Bartomeu said Barcelona officially notified the Brazilian Football Federation two weeks ago of their intentions to allow Neymar to play in only one tournament.

Because the Olympics are not an official FIFA senior tournament, clubs are not obligated to release their players. With Brazil having never won the gold medal, the country is prioritising the Games in Rio de Janeiro in August over June's Copa America Centenario in the United States.

Over the past few days, Brazil manager Dunga and Selecao director Gilmar Rinaldi had refused to rule out the possibility that Neymar could play both competitions, but Bartomeu said Barcelona's decision has been made.

"It will be impossible to convince us [to release the player twice]," Bartomeu said, according to UOL Esporte. "We are aware of the importance [of the Copa America], but our view is that players need to have some rest after two strong seasons."

The Blaugrana president added that the club will pose no obstacles for Neymar's participation in the Olympics.

"We see no problem in Neymar playing at the Olympics," he said. "The club would be enchanted, and I would take him if I were the Brazilian manager."

Bartomeu hinted that the club and the Brazilian are near a contract extension. The president said he believes a new agreement will be in place "soon."

"Barca don't need to hurry. We won't put pressure on the player, and instead we will allow him to focus on the competitions," Bartomeu said.

"I know we won't have problems because the player himself has already said he wants to stay. Our plan is to have him here til the end of his career."