Neymar frets as the ultimate test nears

Neymar

As Neymar, the world's most expensive player, battles to be fit for Brazil's World Cup campaign, he is aware of the pressure.

"Nobody is as scared as me," he said on Tuesday.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker has not played since February, but knows that soccer-mad Brazil hopes he is fit to lead their team to glory in the World Cup.

"I know that people are a little anxious, but nobody more than me, nobody is as nervous about my comeback and nobody is more scared than me," Neymar told Brazilian station TV Globo.

The world's most expensive player was injured on February 25, playing for PSG against Marseille in the French league.

The 26-year-old striker underwent surgery on a bone in his right foot in Brazil at the start of March and has since dedicated himself to preparing for the World Cup.

"It's a very difficult time, right? I think it's one of the most difficult I've ever had, because I'm very close to a dream I have, which is the World Cup," said Neymar, who suffered a back injury in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and missed the semifinal, which the hosts lost, 7-1, to Germany.

"Thank God I have this further opportunity, this further chance, to try to be a world champion for my country, which is a dream that I have had since childhood," Neymar said. "It is my goal. I hope it is my cup."

Neymar was on Tuesday included in the 23-man provisional Brazilian squad for the World Cup which starts in Russia on June 14. Brazil are aiming to add a sixth star on their shirts.

Neymar resumed training with PSG last Sunday. If he is to gain match practice before the World Cup his chances will come in warm-up games against Croatia in Liverpool on June 3 and against Austria in Vienna three days later.

Brazil kick off their World Cup against Switzerland in Rostov on June 17. Their group also includes Costa Rica and Serbia.

Just how important Neymar is to Brazil's scheme of things was made evident during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro two years ago. The talismanic striker rose to the occasion as his team won the gold medal for the first time, beating Germany on penalties.

In front of an adoring home crowd, Neymar showed he could handle the pressure. He first struck the goal that fetched his team the lead, and then, after the Germans had equalised, making it 1-1 in regulation time, he stepped up and slotted home the decisive penalty to trigger celebrations nationwide.

 

 

 

 

 

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Neymar frets as the ultimate test nears

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