Brazil's Fred asks not to play after drinking episode

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) -- Brazil striker Fred asked Fluminense not to pick him for the club's match against Internacional on Thursday, claiming psychological problems after being pursued by fans who found him drinking in a Rio bar.

Fred, who played for Brazil at last month's Copa America in Argentina, would have been in the starting line-up for the Brazilian championship match.

"The athlete asked not to be chosen for tonight's game, against Internacional, at the Engenhao (Olympic stadium). Fred claimed he was not fit psychologically to play because he felt threatened, in view of the episode ... in a southern area restaurant on Tuesday," Fluminense said in a statement.

According to media reports, Fred and team mate Rafael Moura were seen by fans drinking 'caipirinhas' -- a Brazilian cocktail -- in the company of women in the early hours of Wednesday in a bar in the Rio beach district of Ipanema.

After leaving the bar with their companions, Fred and Moura were pursued in their cars by the fans, who felt aggrieved to see the players out drinking before a match, local media said.