on May 08, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Brazil’s 23-strong World Cup squad is worth an estimated half a billion euros, Brazilian financial daily Valor reported Thursday, a day after Luiz Felipe Scolari named his list.

According to a calculation by Pluri Consultoria consultants, the squad, led by Barcelona superstar Neymar, is worth 514.23 millions euros.

A pre-announcement in April estimated had valued the potential squad at 470.2 million behind reigning world champions Spain (486.9 million) and Argentina (474.1 million).

The April estimates made Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi the most expensive player for the June 12-July 13 tournament starting with a price tag of 138.1 million euros ahead of 107.3 million for Portugal and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

Taking estimated marketing pulling power into account, Neymar himself was only given a value of 67.4 million euros ahead of Germany and Bayern Munich forward Mario Goetze (59.7 million).

The Brazilian media, meanwhile, pored over Scolari’s choices which contained no major surprises, as he had been expected to leave out former world players of the year, Kaka and Ronaldinho.

Milan’s Robinho also failed to make the group.

“Felipao opted for a family with ambition,” was the front page headline from Estado de Sao Paulo while Folha de Sao Paulo greeted “the new family” — one containing only six players with previous World Cup experience.

Even so, the average age is 28.4 years old compared with 26.7 when a side coached by Scolari and inspired by Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho lifted the 2002 trophy in Japan.

In addition, the team is unlikely to be very different from the one which has already tasted tournament success on home soil, at last year’s Confederation’s Cup, when a tired Spain were sent packing in the final.

Folha de Sao Paulo noted the squad’s relative lack of World Cup experience was unparalleled since that of the 1950 side, which lost the trophy match in Rio to Uruguay.

But the paper picked up on Scolari’s insistence that “these youngsters have more ambition” than 30-somethings who have passed their peak.

“Green — but with hunger,” was Folha’s judgment.

The squad can also point to experience aplenty at club level with league titles earned in 11 countries — assuming Fernandinho can complete the job on Sunday with Manchester City.

Whereas in 2002 when more than half the squad was home-based, only four of the 2014 vintage play club football in Brazil — strikers Fred and Jo and reserve goalkeepers Jefferson and Vitor.

Back then, as Brazil made it five tournament wins by winning the first Cup to be hosted in Asia, Corinthians and Sao Paulo provided the most players to the squad with three each.

This time, Chelsea supply four, the biggest single contingent in the shape of David Luiz, Oscar, Willian and Ramires.

Much has been made of whether European sides will be able to adapt to the heat — despite this being the Brazilian ‘winter’ — of some venues such as Manaus in the Amazon region and where England will start their campaign against Italy.

But the Brazil squad can point to their huge experience gained in winning club titles at all points of the European compass from Spain and Portugal, via England, Germany and Belgium to Russia and Ukraine.