Neymar has admitted that suffering elimination from the World Cup with Brazil was the ‘saddest moment of my career’ and claims he is having a hard time ‘finding the strength to play again’.
The Selecao entered the tournament in Russia as favourites to lift the trophy but struggled to show their best form at any point of the tournament, ultimately making it to the quarter-finals before being eliminated by a vastly superior Belgium side.
In this Instagram post, Neymar wrote: “I can say that this is the saddest moment of my career, it is incredibly painful because we knew we could get there, we knew we had conditions to go further, to make history.
“But it was not this time. It’s hard to find the strength to play soccer again, but I’m sure God will give me strength enough to face anything, so I’ll never stop thanking God, even in defeat…because I know that your way is much better than mine. I’m very happy to be part of this team, I’m proud of all the players. Our dream was interrupted but they didn’t get it out of our head or our hearts.”
Neymar was personally tipped for glory in the competition but endured a difficult tournament, scoring twice for Brazil but also receiving severe criticism from around the world as a result of his perceived tendency to dive and exaggerate injuries.
While there is certainly some truth to these accusations, Neymar was also the most fouled player at the World Cup this year. The forward was fouled ten times in Brazil’s opening match against Switzerland, the most a player had been fouled in a World Cup match since Alan Shearer in 1998.
The world’s most expensive player following his move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, Neymar has scored 57 goals in 90 games for Brazil since making his debut for the national side in 2010.