Hold the 2022 World Cup (opens in a new tab) during the domestic season will only improve the quality of football at the tournament, according to Neymar.
PSG (opens in a new tab) star aims to inspire Brazil (opens in a new tab) to glory this winter, having failed at the last two World Cups – but he expects the Selecao to face tough competition.
Neymar – who is just three goals away from usurping Pele as his country’s all-time top scorer – also revealed which nations he expects to challenge for the crown of world champions this time- this.
In an interview with Esquire Middle East, Neymar reflected on his previous World Cup experiences – including the 2014 tournament, where he suffered the injury in Brazil’s infamous 7-1 semi-final against Germany at home. He said (opens in a new tab):
“Losing is never easy in football, but at a World Cup it’s worse. That’s why you have to prepare well, be 100% physically and mentally. Preparation for this World Cup is better than usual because it comes in the middle of the season, where you are at your best physically. Players can be tired for tournaments at the end of a season and so I think the level of this World Cup is going to be very high.”
The 30-year-old then mentioned the holders France (opens in a new tab)Brazil’s big rival, Argentina (opens in a new tab)Belgium (opens in a new tab)England (opens in a new tab)and Germany (opens in a new tab) as his favorites to triumph in Qatar.
Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign on November 24 against Serbia (opens in a new tab) – whom they also faced in the group stage four years ago. Same for Switzerland. (opens in a new tab)while Cameroon (opens in a new tab) complete group G.
This will be Neymar’s third World Cup – and he will be desperate to make it a third chance by fulfilling his childhood dream.
“It’s been my dream since I was a kid to win the World Cup,” he said. “I imagined myself holding this trophy and I have another opportunity to try to do it in Qatar. I hope I will. Smile at the end.