Charismatic and provocative, Neymar surprised Brazil, but essentially Argentina, when in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup final, he said that his wish was for the Albiceleste to be crowned in Maracanã. “I want Messi to win,” he said. The crooked Brazilian was as perplexed as the Argentine fans. “With that phrase, with which he could have turned his entire country against him, Ney ended up beating Leo,” they summed up at Barcelona. “We, in our time, the Argentines we couldn’t even see. Now, the players with friends ”, analyzes Dunga. Seven years later, after securing Brazil’s pass to the final of the Copa América 2021 (1-0 to Peru), Neymar returned to the charge: “Now I want Argentina to win the other semifinal [anoche contra Colombia]. I will be encouraging you. I have my friends there. In the final, I will beat them ”.
Neymar wants a big title with Brazil. Injured in the spine, he was left out of the 2014 World Cup. He also could not be in the Copa América 2019. In any case, he hung himself for gold in Rio 2016 and won the Confederations Cup in 2013. “People who don’t know him can say a lot of nonsense from Ney. Those of us who are with him every day know how competitive he is, ”they say from the 29-year-old PSG striker.
It was difficult for him to get hooked on the Copa América. Psychically exhausted, the 10 did not want to play in Brazil 2021. He found an excuse: the pandemic. “The players explained their position to the president of the federation,” Tite defended his players. But the ball began to roll and Neymar had no choice but to lead Canarinha.
“Neymar has matured a lot. Before, when I was at Barcelona and in my early days with the national team, I was a player who was on the wing, scored goals, had speed, dribbled and made individual moves… ”, analyzes Tite. “Now”, he continues, “he has expanded his scope of play and, in addition to being a scorer, he makes plays for others. Now it is what we call a bow and arrow: it is capable of building and finishing. It has increased its arsenal ”. Brazil has played six games in the Copa América, has won five and drawn one, precisely in the duel in which Neymar was absent. “Neymar’s incidence in the Brazilian game is total. He is the team leader and often the only solution ”, analyzes Mano Menezes, Canarinha coach between 2010 and 2012. Neymar has two goals and three assists in five games.
“When you have a player with that quality it is normal for dependence to be generated in attacking football. He has a magnetism with the ball and his teammates are always aware of them ”, understands Dunga, coach of Brazil between 2006 and 2010 and between 2014 and 2016. Although, from the outset, he rotated his three goalkeepers -” they are at a very good level ” , he assured, “Tite is clear about his bet under the crossbar: Ederson. He trusts the duo of Marquinhos and Thiago Silva in the axis of the rear, he bets on Danilo and he loves Lodi. Fred is postulated as a partner of the immovable Casemiro and afterwards nothing is clear in the head of the Canarinha coach. Except Neymar, of course. Richarlison (373 minutes), Gabriel Jesus (282), Lucas Paquetá (280), Everton (207), Gabigol (174), Firmino (171) and Everton Ribeiro (166) have passed through Brazil’s attack. The case of Lucas Paquetá, however, is the one that worries Tite the most.
Brazil has been looking for a game builder for a long time, a partner for Neymar. When the PSG striker appeared, the fans were enthusiastic about Ganso. Nothing happened. Neither with Óscar or Coutinho. Then, when Milan paid 35 million euros to Flamengo for Paquetá, Brazil set its eyes on the Rio midfielder. It lasted little in the rossonero team: two seasons, 44 games and one goal. In Lyon, last season, he resurfaced: 34 and 10. A visa for the America’s Cup, in which he has already scored two goals, the last to qualify Brazil for the final. “He is a great player and he has been growing in each game. He had a great season with his club and it is very important for the Brazilian team ”, celebrates Neymar. The 10th looks for a partner to lead Brazil.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.