Although Neymar is set to win his fitness battle to be ready for the Russia World Cup, Brazil is made of stronger stuff than the team that collapsed in 2014
Neymar is set to make his return to the pitch right in time for the FIFA World Cup. Paris Saint Germain and Brazil’s medical staff have given the 17th May as a date for the final medical test, which is likely to declare him fit to play again, if everything goes as well as planned.
If Neymar is cleared to play from May 17th onwards, it would be a month ahead of Brazil’s World Cup opener against Switzerland, which means that he has a couple of weeks to gain match-rhythm and prepare himself for the greatest event in world football. The Brazilian’s first experience back in 2014, ended in a disastrous way with Neymar missing the final stages of Brazil’s tournament due to a severe back injury, before witnessing his country getting hammered on home soil against the Germans, in the semi-final.
But this time, Brazil looks much stronger on paper and much more tactically flexible. It all started when former Corinthians boss Tite took charge back in 2016, as he revolutionized so many aspects of the team. Neymar has been a key player ever since, but what separates his experience with Tite from the ones with Mano Menezes, Carlos Dunga and Luiz Felipe Scolari, is that Adenor Bacchi is building a real team, which seems less dependent on Neymar than ever.
This is not to deny that the Paris Saint Germain star is still Brazil’s best player, but it is rather to confirm that in his absence, Brazil is still a very strong side, among the best in the world. The away victory in Berlin against Germany in March, was perhaps an indicator as to how much the chemistry has improved since 2014.
Neymar’s World Cup participation is not in doubt, as things stand. But one question mark still going around, is whether he is set to stay at PSG for one more season, or if a move to Real Madrid could well be imminent. The rumors keep growing, and many former Seleção continue to tip Neymar to a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, to join the ranks of the Liga giants. At this moment in time, it is still pretty much uncertain what the future holds for one of the top stars of football over the past few years.
But for the time being, Neymar must concentrate on getting back to full fitness, before realizing his dream of traveling with the five-time World Champions to Russia, and fight with his teammates on adding yet another star. There is no doubt that the injury blow was terrible news, but it could have been worse. The versatile attacker must concentrate on the positives and build on them.
There will be so much pressure on Neymar, like always. But the 26-year-old has shown us year after year why he is mentally strong enough to cope with the hardest of situations. Brazil fans will be putting their hopes on him, to guide the national team as far as possible in the World Cup.