Neymar unsure if he’ll play for Brazil again after WC exit

Brazilian Neymar said on Friday he was unsure if he would play for the national team again after the heartbreaking World Cup quarter-final defeat by Croatia on penalties.

“Honestly I don’t know. I think talking now is bad because of the heat of the moment. Maybe I’m not thinking clearly,” an emotional Neymar told reporters in Al Rayyan, Qatar.

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“To say this is the end would be hasty, but I don’t guarantee anything either. Let’s see what happens in the future.

“I want to take this time to think about it, to think about what I want for myself. I’m not going to close the door to play with Brazil, nor am I 100% saying I’m coming back.”

Earlier on Friday, Neymar was Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals and Pele level thanks to a goal that seemed to have put his side on course for the semi-finals.

Neymar scored late in the first half of extra time to put Brazil ahead but Croatia equalized when Bruno Petkovic scored in the 117th.

Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic saved a penalty from Rodrygo, later Marquinhos hit the post.

Neymar didn’t take a penalty in the shoot-out because he was used as the fifth and last goalscorer, but Marquinhos’ miss sent Croatia through to the World Cup quarter-finals after just four tries.

“He should have taken the fifth and decisive penalty. The player with the best quality and mental ability is the one who calls the shots when the pressure is high,” said Brazil coach Tite.

Next, Croatia meets either Argentina or the Netherlands.

– Borden: Croatia shock Brazil as Neymar equalizes Pele’s record

Brazil’s Great Pele remained at a hospital in Brazil treating a respiratory infection made worse by COVID-19. The most recent medical report showed that 82-year-old Pele was doing well.

Along with Ronaldo (Nazario), Neymar was the only Brazilian man to score multiple goals in three different World Cups.

Neymar, 30, scored his 77 goals in 124 games for Brazil. Pele scored goals in 92 appearances with the national team between 1957 and 1971.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker started the World Cup two goals behind Pelé. Neymar now has 77 goals in 124 caps.

Brazil striker Marta holds the country’s all-time record with 115 goals in 171 games.

Neymar, the former Santos and Barcelona forward, scored in his Brazil debut in 2010 in a friendly against the United States.

He guided them to the 2013 Confederations Cup title but suffered World Cup heartbreak the following year when he injured himself in Brazil’s quarter-final win over Colombia and was unable to play on home soil in that country’s humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat by Germany.

Neymar was also an important part of the Brazil team that reached the quarter-finals of the tournament in Russia four years ago, where they were beaten by Belgium. He missed out on Brazil’s triumph at the 2019 Copa America through injury and was a losing side in last year’s final against Argentina.

The 30-year-old has had a glittering club career, with accolades including two LaLiga titles, a Champions League trophy, four Ligue 1 titles and a Copa Libertadores.

Information from Reuters was used in this report. Neymar unsure if he’ll play for Brazil again after WC exit

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