RIO DE JANEIRO – Three Brazilian stars return to their European clubs, stimulated by their good performances and a Copa América title.
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus and Barcelona midfielders Philippe Coutinho and Arthur were among the best in Brazil in the campaign that culminated in a 3-1 win over Peru on Sunday and a ninth Copa América title.
Everton, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison scored for Brazil. Paolo Guerrero achieved Peru's only goal from the spot.
Gabriel Jesus was the leading figure of Brazil in the final, just like in the 2-0 victory against Argentina in the semi-final.
He did not score alone against Peru, but caused problems with his footwork on the right flank, good passes and effective tackles from box to box. He was sent away in the 70th after a second yellow card and left the field in tears, hit the television that was used for video assessment.
"I don't see this as a recovery," he told journalists. "I have learned since the World Cup, I got better mentally, I worked a lot in City and I was able to focus on football again."
The striker also apologized to those who were near the television he had hit.
"I wasn't thinking about hurting anyone, not me, but I put them at risk," he said. "I exaggerated a bit."
The goal that Gabriel Jesus scored against Argentina was his first in an official game for Brazil since October 2017, in the 3-0 win against Chile in São Paulo in the World Cup qualifier.
Coutinho scored twice in the 3-0 victory of Brazil against Bolivia in the Copa América opener and was the key to the high ball possession of his team in all their matches.
"I'm going back with good energy, with new expectations," Coutinho said. But: "Before I go back, I have to celebrate a little."
Arthur also left a positive impression for his defensive skills and intelligence in controlling the flow of Brazil. After Brazil had fallen to 10 men, the Barcelona midfielder took the responsibility to help the team regroup.
He was also one of the main reasons why Brazil added only one goal in the tournament – the only one to score Guerrero from the penalty spot.
"This is a dream come true," said Arthur. "If we had to work twice as much, we would have done that. Now I'm going back to Barcelona with this title in my career."
Right-back and team captain Dani Alves will also leave Copa América better than he started. He was named the best player of the tournament at the age of 36 and received many offers shortly after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired.
"Now I don't have to play for the national team, I don't have a club. Can you get a job for me?" Alves said jokingly when he left the Maracanã.