BARCELONA — Brazil makes its debut this Thursday in the World Cup facing Serbia (which it defeated 2-0 in the group stage in Russia), and like that June 27, 2018 all eyes will be on neymar.
He is not the captain of the canarinha (the honor corresponds to the very veteran Thiago Silva) but he is the footballer around whom all the dreams of the five-time champion gravitate.
It is the first step of the seven that he dreams of taking in Qatar, eight years after mourning the World Cup disaster in his country (where the injury he suffered in the quarterfinals against Colombia spared him the embarrassment of the semifinals against Germany) and four later that Belgium would clip its wings in the same quarters as Russia.
It is his high point of the course, after having scored 19 goals in 24 games between Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain, being key in the French team along with kylian mbappe Y Lionel Messi and at the same time leader of the canarinha, in which he has scored 75 goals, only two below the highest historical scorer of the selection: a certain Pelé…
Installed for five years in Paris, with his heart in Barcelona and focused on Doha, Ney prepared what will be his third World Cup conscientiously and taking responsibility for leading his team to that dream title that he last won twenty years ago.
Those who know him well assure that behind that carefree image, sometimes childish and not infrequently controversial, hides a monumental footballer, who when he enters the field forgets the chaos that surrounds him and recovers the essences that led him to be as a young man. considered, even, the successor of Leo Messi.
Neymar never reached that status, but in view of his career it would seem that he hasn’t cared much. He also did not reach Romario in his day to be the undisputed number one (and if he did it was for a very short period of time) but in the end no one has blamed him over the years.
Neymar would not be Neymar without everything around him in the same way that the Baixinho would not be understood without his love at night, his parties, partying and huge goals that catapulted him to the top.
“Don’t give importance to what others say about you. Do your part on the pitch and forget about the rest: all that noise that comes from outside. It’s what I always say: the one who needs to have a good image is the television”, wrote Romario a few days ago in an open letter, published in ‘The Players Tribune’.
A letter in which he defends that his way of being is the product of “confidence” and not of the “arrogance” with which many accuse Ney and which reached its peak when a German newspaper pointed out him for embroidering the sixth champion’s star in the world before having debuted in the tournament.
“I made my story and I am sure that you will make yours. We don’t owe anything to anyone and the Brazilian fans are always by our side when they perceive our behavior, our dedication and our desire for victory” encouraged the champion in 1994, who finished with an indisputable spirit: “Nobody deserves to bring home the sixth title more than you and I trust you. Or, rather, Brazil trusts you.”
Confidence, self-confidence, is something that Neymar never lacked and while all of Brazil’s soccer players cross their fingers, between passion and fear, waiting for their official presentation in Qatar, he takes it his way. With a smile, yes, and at the same time with absolute conviction.
“The Neymar face to face, without spotlights around, in short distances, is totally different from the one that has become known to the whole world. He is close and friendly,” says a friend of his from Barcelona, with whom he shared the announcement of the call provided by Tite and discovered him “convinced” of being ready to restore glory to the canarinha.