Neymar won the Champions League (2015) and the Libertadores (2011). It has in its trophy room the São Paulo championship (2010, 2011 and 2012), the Spanish League (2015 and 2016) and the French Ligue 1 (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020). The Olympic gold was hung (2016) and won the Confederations (2013). Since he appeared in professional football, at age 17, he has only been without a major title in two seasons, his debut at Santos (2009) and his first at Barça (with Tata Martino on the bench, he won the Super Cup in 2013). “Ney doesn’t care as much about personal goal goals as Cristiano and Messi. He wants to win titles”, assures the Brazilian’s surroundings. But, at 29 years old and with a curriculum that only lacks the World Cup and Copa America, Neymar has to be accountable. He did not raise Orelhuda with PSG (finalist in 2020) and in Brazil they analyze his behavior with suspicion, even in the victories.
The Brazilian team has seven victories in the seven qualifying rounds for the World Cup. A record. In Brazil, they question the game of Tite’s team —they won 0-1 against Chile, in a duel in which they lost in possession and kicked less than the red team—, but, above all, they talk about the physical condition of Neymar. ““Did we play well? Not! Did we win? Yes! So [email protected]&$!#” The dance follows. We keep making history“, published the Brazilian on Instragram. Provocative by nature, Neymar quipped: “The shirt was a G,” he wrote in reference to the size of his uniform elastic against Chile on Thursday. “I’m under my weight already. Next game I ask for M shirt“. This Saturday, on the same social network, the player posted shirtless images to show off the form.
Neymar split his vacation in two. In the first one, he was in Brazil, accompanied by his personal trainer and physiotherapist. Then traveled to Ibiza. Then he forgot to be careful. “He is not 25 years old. Now it’s harder for him to recover,” they explain on PSG. Unlike Mbappé, who anticipated two days of vacation to return to training, the São Paulo native did not spare a day. Upon arriving in Paris, he sought to make up for lost time: double work hours and a vegan diet. “At the beginning of each round, all football players are affected in their technical condition. Ney is no exception”, defended Tite. “It’s true that he wasn’t 100% physically, but he’s a super competitive player and, when he has to be good, he is”, concludes from PSG.
Before the busy transfer market, in which PSG signed Messi and managed to retain Mbappé, they renewed with Neymar in Qatar. The idea of the Parisian club was to give São Paulo even more power. With a made-to-measure wardrobe —Rafinha, Marquinhos, Di María, Paredes and Keylor Navas—, Pochettino’s coaching staff also surrenders to Ney. The arrival of friend Messi did not change the plans. On the contrary. Before the Argentine traveled to Paris to sign the contract, Neymar wrote to his friend: “Do you want a 10?” Messi refused. He understands that now the team leader has to be Neymar. He was already thinking the same in 2019, when he insisted that he return to Barcelona. “I make you win the Ballon d’Or”, the former Barcelona captain motivated him. Neymar does not forget that he has not yet won the France Football award. This disturbs him, but it doesn’t disturb him. He prefers the Champions League. “No one remembers that in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, he spent 60 days in Rio training like a madman to win the Champions League”, defends around him.
The São Paulo native knows that he has to arrive in good condition when he starts the round of 16 at Orelhuda, in February 2022. Just in the year that could mark a peak in Neymar’s career. Champions, along with Mbappé and Messi, and the World Cup. “He has the talent to get what he wants”, they conclude in Paris.
Brazil receives Argentina this Sunday, at 4 pm. The Brazilian team has never lost a match in the Qualifiers in Brazil; However, they had lost only one official match at Maracanã (the 1950 World Cup final, against Uruguay) until Messi’s Argentina won the Copa América. Neymar wants a rematch; his real goal, however, is the World Cup in Qatar. It depends on your physique. I mean, it depends on him.
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