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EPL's South American players set to miss MD8

Huge Premier League blow: Brazil, Argentina refuse to release players early from international break

October 7, 2021 By Ali M.
The English top-flight is facing another problem regarding their South American players on international duty.

The international break is currently underway, with Brazil and Argentina being two top national teams gearing up for crucial 2022 World Cup qualifiers, playing three games each. The quarantine rules that brought these South American nations and the Premier League at loggerheads have been relaxed, meaning several of the English top-flight's biggest names have been called up and will thus be present for the CONMEBOL fixtures. However, a new issue has arisen for the world's most popular league.

Some of these South American nations will be in action less than two days before the Premier League season resumes, with the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Colombia taking to the field in the early hours of Friday in British Summer Time. With Matchweek 8 in the English top-flight kicking off at 12:30 BST, there was hope that the players would be released early by their international teams in order to be available for the upcoming round.

Unfortunately, both the Selecao and La Albiceleste announced that everyone called up will participate in all three qualifiers. Brazil have called up nine Premier League players – Man City's Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Liverpool's Allison and Fabinho, Chelsea's Thiago Silva, Man United's Fred, Tottenham's Emerson Royal, Leeds' Raphinha, and Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz – and they could all miss the next EPL round.

Argentina, meanwhile, have called up Tottenham duo Giovani Lo Celsa and Cristian Romero as well as Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez. Speaking ahead of their clash with Paraguay, La Albiceleste head coach Lionel Scaloni stressed that unlike last time, those three would not be permitted to leave early.

"We are not going to do the same as last time with the Premier League players," the Copa America-winning boss said, as per the Daily Mail.

"Before the game with Venezuela I said that they came to play all three games but the players raised a difficult decision for me and I understood it, I released them.

"Now the players are here to play the three games. Under no point of view they will leave earlier."

Brazil gaffer Tite issued a similar statement during his press conference, stating: "There was never that possibility [of them returning to England early]. They were called up for the three games."

PSG suffered a similar fate during the last international break with their South American stars as Messi, Neymar, Di Maria, and Paredes were all in action on a Thursday and were thus unable to feature for their club the following weekend when Ligue 1 resumed.

Liverpool will be taking on Watford in just over a week while defending champions Man City will host Burnley. It will be interesting two see how these two English giants cope without their Brazilian players, who are key members of both Klopp's and Guardiola's squads. Chelsea visit Brentford in what should be a tricky fixture while Man United take on Leicester in the standout tie.

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