Neymar: Is World Cup 2022 his last opportunity to lead Brazil to triumph?

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Neymar: Is World Cup 2022 his last opportunity to lead Brazil to triumph?


Have country: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Inclusion: Live on BBC television, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Ribs, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Game site and application. Step by step television postings - Full inclusion subtleties

As their headliner tumbled to the ground, shouting in torment with his arm twisted round to his back, an entire country took in and dreaded just plain horrible.

Neymar was Brazil's charm, the person who might lead the public group to brilliance on home soil at the 2014 World Cup in any case, after a knee to the back as he tested for the ball with Colombia's Juan Zuniga, the then 22-year-old's vertebrae was broken and he was out of the competition.

Brazil dominated the match to advance to the semi-finals, yet there they tumbled to an embarrassing 7-1 misfortune against Germany. Quite a while back, they went out in the quarter-finals to Belgium.

In spite of the fact that Neymar is presently 30, he's in probably the best type of his vocation and there's a genuine expectation this could be his and Brazil's year.

Since Neymar originally burst onto the scene as an unstable young person for Santos in 2009, there was the assumption that he would proceed to be a gigantic star for club and country.

The forward can positively be pleased with his accomplishments to date. He is the most costly footballer ever. He scored 105 objectives in 186 games for Barcelona and has gotten multiple times in 163 appearances for Paris St-Germain. Furthermore, he is Brazil's second-most elevated scorer with 75 objectives, behind just Pele.

Be that as it may, he has not yet had the option to show his best at a World Cup. While injury remorselessly denied him of a likely fantasy on home soil in 2014, he was essential for a Brazil group that failed to meet expectations in Russia four years after the fact, in spite of scoring in prevails upon Costa Rica and Mexico.

Neymar has been important for the public group for a considerable length of time, yet his main significant victories with his nation are the 2013 Confederations Cup and Olympic gold at Rio 2016. He missed the 2019 Copa America, which Brazil won, due to injury.

The long stretches of assumption and restricted significant achievement seemed, by all accounts, to be causing significant damage as he proposed last year that the 2022 World Cup would be his last.

 "I see it as my last because I don't know if I have the strength of mind to deal with football any more," 

he said in the DAZN documentary Neymar Jr And The Line Of Kings.

"I'll do everything to turn up well, do everything to win with my country, to realise my greatest dream since I was little. And I hope I can do it."

Hitting form at the right time

Lionel Messi and Neymar celebrate
Neymar has been scoring goals and providing assists for PSG this season

Neymar's statistics are all the more impressive given he has had lengthy spells out during his career because of injury.

By January this year, he had missed almost 100 games for PSG since joining them in 2017, while a reportedly frosty relationship with team-mate Kylian Mbappe meant the French side appeared ready to cut their ties with Neymar in the summer and he was linked with moves elsewhere.

"We know there was tension between the two,"

 Get French Football News editor Raphael Jucobin told BBC Sport.

"It seems Neymar took that personally and he wanted this season to show he is worthy of a spot at PSG, and is the player they bought for £200m.

"He is really showing that this season. It has been his best season so far, not just in terms of goals but also the attitude as well."

Neymar had previously frustrated the PSG hierarchy by once being late for the start of pre-season, but this summer he ended his holiday early to begin preparations for the new campaign.

The result of that level of focus and dedication has been 11 goals and nine assists in 14 Ligue 1 appearances.

"There is more maturity about him, but it is something more than that. He has a point to prove,"

 Jucobin added.

"Tactically speaking as well, the coach has found a really good formation to get the best out him."

Brazil boss Tite is certainly happy with the form Neymar has arrived at the World Cup in, saying: 

"He is flying. It is the fruit of all the preparation he has put in."

Pele's record in Neymar's sights

Pele and Neymar
Neymar is two goals behind Pele's tally of Fifa-registered goals for Brazil

As well as hoping to lead Brazil to a record-extending sixth World Cup title, Neymar is also on the cusp of history.

He needs just three goals to surpass Pele, who is Brazil's all-time top scorer with 77 Fifa-registered goals.

It is a target Neymar is clearly determined to beat, telling French football programme Telefoot last month: 

"I hope to get past him. I'm going to talk to my team-mates about it and tell them to help me score so I can finally get there."

What may also help Neymar is that, unlike in 2014 and 2018, the hopes of a nation don't rest almost entirely on his shoulders.

Brazil have placed the emphasis on attack for the World Cup in Qatar, with nine forwards named in their squad.

"Brazil isn't dependent on Neymar, especially this year because there are several players like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta," 

said Cafu, the captain for their last World Cup win in 2002.

"Those players are also capable of winning the cup for Brazil, and this year the side is much different. Four years ago, it was all Neymar."

Shorn of the weight of expectation, this could be the year Neymar delivers for Brazil at a World Cup.

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