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Barcelona confirms Neymar will play in Olympics, miss Copa America

Edison Vara / Reuters

Neymar will be on hand to help Brazil attempt to win a first-ever Olympic gold medal in men's football.

Barcelona's lithe superstar will be released to represent his country at the Rio Olympics in August, the Catalan giant announced Wednesday. As a trade-off, however, he will miss the Copa America Centenario, which takes place in the United States in June.

"FC Barcelona thanks the Brazilian football federation and their president Marco Polo del Nero, who have accepted the proposal made by the club that Neymar only play in the Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016, which take place between 3-21 of August," the club said in a statement.

"In this way, Neymar is freed from playing in the Copa America which will be played in the United States between 3-26 of June."

Brazil had long hoped for the 24-year-old to be released for both competitions, but Barcelona was steadfast in its assertion that Neymar, who scored in Wednesday's 8-0 annihilation of Deportivo, would only be permitted to partake in one tournament over fear of over-exertion - and potential injury - prior to the 2016-17 club campaign.

Related: Dunga wants Neymar at Rio Olympics over Copa America

Neymar, who has 46 goals for the Selecao, has already played over 3,500 minutes for Barcelona this season, and the club still has another five matches remaining in all competitions.

The concern over potential wear and tear, then, is obvious.

Though clubs aren't obligated to release players for the Olympics, the Brazilian football federation and the Catalan side were likely able to reach the agreement given Brazil's prioritizing of the 2016 Games, which the South American nation is hosting in August.

- With files from Agence France-Presse

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