Neymarâs Brazil teammates are still hoping the 29-year-old striker will remain with the national team after next yearâs World Cup, despite saying the tournament in Qatar could be his last. (More Cricket News)
Neymar said in an interview aired this week that he doesnât know whether he will be able âmentally to endureâ more international soccer after the 2022 FIFA World Cup and that heâs approaching the tournament as if it is his last.
His teammates rallied around the Paris Saint-Germain player on Tuesday, saying they understand the pressure Neymar faces as Brazilâs biggest star.
âWe want him to stay with us for many years,â midfielder Fred said. âBut it is hard to talk about someone elseâs head. Sometimes people face a huge pressure. Not only Neymar, but (Lionel) Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo. We want him here, he is one of the best players we have ever seen in Brazil.â
Defender Thiago Silva, a close friend of Neymarâs, said at a news conference that the pressure on Neymar is unfair when compared to other players. The striker left the pitch after Sundayâs 0-0 draw at Colombia without speaking to journalists after a sub-par performance.
âWe forget a lot of what he has done on the pitch and focus on what is not important. He puts a lot of pressure on himself,â Silva said before Brazilâs World Cup qualifying match against Uruguay on Thursday.
âI hope he doesnât lose his joy, he is a super special kid. When he is happy and doing what he likes he can always deliver and play as well as he has always played. It is better for the team.â Silva, who played his 100th match for Brazil against Colombia, also used his Instagram account to boost his friendâs morale.
âIf you ever need someone to be strong for you, know that I will always be here! The Silva family loves you,â the defender said in a post that included a picture of himself hugging Neymar.
Everton striker Richarlison, who is out with a knee injury, tweeted a picture of a banner carried by fans in Manaus, where Brazil will play on Thursday, that read: âNeymar, if you played in heaven I would die to watch you.â
Neymar has had a disappointing start to the club season after a failed attempt to win his first Copa America title with the national team in July. The SeleÃ§ao lost the final to Argentina.
The striker missed 17 passes against Colombia, looked slow on the pitch and rarely took on defenders during the game in Barranquilla. Local media suggested he should be rested in the next international window in November.
Neymarâs previous two World Cups were forgettable. In 2014 in Brazil, he injured his back in the quarterfinals against Colombia and missed the shocking 7-1 semifinal loss to Germany. In 2018 in Russia, he was disappointing in the quarterfinal loss to Belgium.