The 2022 FIFA World Cup will kick off in mere days, and for the Brazil national team, its attention is set on its group stage opener against Serbia coming next week. Much focus in the fixture sure will be centered on Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.
From PSG center-back Marquinhos’ standpoint, he recognizes the hefty pressure that Neymar will face at the World Cup. However, as the veteran defender explained during a press conference on Thursday, he sees that Neymar is coming into the biggest tournament of his career with the right mindset.
“The pressure and the label of technical leader are inevitable for him, it has always been like that since he was in the Selecao,” Marquinhos said. “It’s normal when you see what he’s capable of doing and the qualities he has. But he’s coping.
“He arrives at the World Cup in excellent physical shape. I am with him every day, I know how much he has prepared, how focused he is on the project, how much he has given up in his everyday life. He’s my close friend, I can guarantee 100 percent what I say. But I always tell him that he doesn’t have to carry more weight than others. There are experienced players around him to support him, and young people who take responsibility.”
In the big picture, Neymar is heading into the World Cup in top-class form. He was a valuable talent for the reigning Ligue 1 champions in all competitions over the first half of the season, chipping in with 26 total goal contributions.
Neymar sure will also have a golden opportunity in the coming weeks to bolster his resume for next year’s Ballon d’Or award.