Neymar: Is World Cup 2022 his final probability to guide Brazil to victory?

Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Protection: Dwell on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Dwell, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport web site and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull protection particulars

As their star participant fell to the bottom, screaming in ache together with his arm bent spherical to his again, an entire nation breathed in and feared the worst.

Neymar was Brazil’s talisman, the one who would lead the nationwide workforce to glory on house soil on the 2014 World Cup however, after a knee to the again as he challenged for the ball with Colombia’s Juan Zuniga, the then 22-year-old’s vertebrae was damaged and he was out of the event.

Brazil received the sport to progress to the semi-finals, however there they fell to a humiliating 7-1 loss towards Germany. 4 years in the past, they went out within the quarter-finals to Belgium.

Though Neymar is now 30, he is in among the greatest type of his profession and there is a actual hope this could possibly be his and Brazil’s 12 months.

Unfinished enterprise

Neymar began at Brazilian aspect Santos earlier than shifting to Barcelona in 2013

Since Neymar first burst onto the scene as an explosive teenager for Santos in 2009, there was the expectation that he would go on to be an enormous star for membership and nation.

The ahead can actually be pleased with his achievements thus far. He’s the costliest footballer in historical past. He scored 105 objectives in 186 video games for Barcelona and has netted 115 instances in 163 appearances for Paris St-Germain. And he’s Brazil’s second-highest scorer with 75 objectives, behind solely Pele.

Nevertheless, he has not but been in a position to present his greatest at a World Cup. Whereas damage cruelly robbed him of a possible fairytale on house soil in 2014, he was a part of a Brazil workforce that underperformed in Russia 4 years later, regardless of scoring in wins over Costa Rica and Mexico.

Neymar has been a part of the nationwide workforce for 12 years, however his solely main successes together with his nation are the 2013 Confederations Cup and Olympic gold at Rio 2016. He missed the 2019 Copa America, which Brazil received, due to damage.

The years of expectation and restricted main success gave the impression to be taking its toll as he urged final 12 months that the 2022 World Cup could be his final.

“I see it as my final as a result of I do not know if I’ve the self-control to take care of soccer any extra,” he mentioned within the DAZN documentary Neymar Jr And The Line Of Kings.

“I am going to do all the pieces to show up nicely, do all the pieces to win with my nation, to grasp my biggest dream since I used to be little. And I hope I can do it.”

Hitting type on the proper time

Lionel Messi and Neymar celebrate
Neymar has been scoring objectives and offering assists for PSG this season

Neymar’s statistics are all of the extra spectacular given he has had prolonged spells out throughout his profession due to damage.

By January this 12 months, he had missed nearly 100 video games for PSG since becoming a member of them in 2017, whereas a reportedly frosty relationshipexternal-link with team-mate Kylian Mbappe meant the French aspect appeared prepared to chop their ties with Neymar in the summertime and he was linked with strikes elsewhere.

“We all know there was pressure between the 2,” Get French Soccer Information editor Raphael Jucobin advised BBC Sport.

“It appears Neymar took that personally and he wished this season to point out he’s worthy of a spot at PSG, and is the participant they purchased for £200m.

“He’s actually exhibiting that this season. It has been his greatest season to this point, not simply by way of objectives but in addition the perspective as nicely.”

Neymar had beforehand pissed off the PSG hierarchy by as soon as being late for the beginning of pre-season, however this summer season he ended his vacation early to start preparations for the brand new marketing campaign.

The results of that stage of focus and dedication has been 11 objectives and 9 assists in 14 Ligue 1 appearances.

“There may be extra maturity about him, however it’s one thing greater than that. He has some extent to show,” Jucobin added.

“Tactically talking as nicely, the coach has discovered a extremely good formation to get one of the best out him.”

Brazil boss Tite is actually proud of the shape Neymar has arrived on the World Cup in, saying: “He’s flying. It’s the fruit of all of the preparation he has put in.”

Pele’s document in Neymar’s sights

Pele and Neymar
Neymar is 2 objectives behind Pele’s tally of Fifa-registered objectives for Brazil

In addition to hoping to guide Brazil to a record-extending sixth World Cup title, Neymar can be on the cusp of historical past.

He wants simply three objectives to surpass Pele, who’s Brazil’s all-time prime scorer with 77 Fifa-registered objectives.

It’s a goal Neymar is clearly decided to beat, telling French soccer programme Telefoot final month: “I hope to get previous him. I’ll discuss to my team-mates about it and inform them to assist me rating so I can lastly get there.”

What can also assist Neymar is that, not like in 2014 and 2018, the hopes of a nation do not relaxation nearly totally on his shoulders.

Brazil have positioned the emphasis on assault for the World Cup in Qatar, with 9 forwards named of their squad.

“Brazil is not depending on Neymar, particularly this 12 months as a result of there are a number of gamers like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta,” mentioned Cafu, the captain for his or her final World Cup win in 2002.

“These gamers are additionally able to profitable the cup for Brazil, and this 12 months the aspect is way totally different. 4 years in the past, it was all Neymar.”

Shorn of the burden of expectation, this could possibly be the 12 months Neymar delivers for Brazil at a World Cup.

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