Thiago Silva, the captain of Brazil, claims that Neymar would be “better” at the 2022 World Cup after an injury derailed his last two competitions.
After having foot surgery earlier in the year, Neymar struggled to recover fully from the 2018 tournament and missed the 2014 semi-final due to a back ailment.
During the 2014 World Cup, Neymar was expected to lead Brazil to victory on home soil as their talisman. However, the then 22-year-old was forced to withdraw from the competition after taking a knee to the back while battling Juan Zuniga of Colombia for the ball.
Then, when he sustained the injury, the whole nation inhaled and feared the worst as their star player collapsed to the ground, screaming in agony and bending his arm around to his back.
Yet, Brazil won the match to advance to the semi-finals where they were defeated 7-1 by Germany in an embarrassing fashion. They lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals four years ago.
Although Neymar is already 30 years old, he is in some of the best physical shapes of his career, and there is genuine optimism that this could be the year for both he and Brazil.
There has been anticipation that Neymar will become a major star for the club and the nation since he made his debut as a young, energetic player for Santos in 2009.
He has scored 15 goals in 20 games for Paris St-Germain this season; hence, he traveled to Qatar in excellent shape.
The forward has every right to be pleased with his accomplishments so far. He is the most expensive football player in history. For Barcelona, he scored 105 goals in 186 games, and for Paris Saint-Germain, he has 115 goals in 163 games. With 75 goals, he is second only to Pele in goals scored in Brazil.
He hasn’t yet been able to perform at his peak level at the World Cup, though. He was part of a Brazil team that underperformed in Russia four years after his potential fairytale on home soil was cruelly cut short by injury, despite scoring in victories over Costa Rica and Mexico.
Although Neymar has been a member of the national team for 12 years, his only notable accomplishments with his nation are the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2013 Confederations Cup. Due to an injury, he was unable to compete in the 2019 Copa America, which Brazil won.
He said last year that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would be his last, suggesting that the years of expectation and scant great success had taken a toll.
“I don’t know whether I have the mental fortitude to deal with football anymore, therefore I see it as my last,” he remarked in the DAZN documentary Neymar Jr And The Line Of Kings.
“I’ll do everything I can to perform well, to support my nation, and to realize my greatest desire since I was a child. I’m hoping I can pull it off.”
Neymar has experienced lengthy absences due to injury during his career, making his numbers all the more amazing.
Since joining PSG in 2017, he had missed nearly 100 of their games as of January this year.
Neymar was also connected with other teams. Yet, PSG appeared set to sever their relationship with him in the summer due to a rumored chilly relationship with teammate Kylian Mbappe.
Neymar has previously annoyed the PSG management by arriving late for the start of preseason, but last summer he cut short his vacation early to start preparing for this season.
That level of concentration and commitment has led to 11 goals and 9 assists in 14 Ligue 1 outings.
Tite, the coach of Brazil, expressed his satisfaction with Neymar’s form upon his arrival at the World Cup in Qatar by saying, “He is flying. It is the result of all his work in preparation.
Neymar is on the verge of making history in addition to attempting to guide Brazil to a record-extending sixth World Cup victory.
With 77 Fifa-recorded goals, Pele is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer and Neymar needs just three more goals to surpass him.
Neymar has set out to surpass it, saying last month on the French football program Telefoot: “I aspire to get past him. I’m going to bring it up with my teammates and ask them to score for me so I can finally get there.”
Neymar may also benefit from the fact that, unlike in 2014 and 2018, he is not largely responsible for the hopes of the country.
With nine forwards chosen to their roster, Brazil has prioritized offense for the World Cup in Qatar.
Neymar might perform for Brazil at a World Cup this year, free of the pressure of expectation.