SAO PAULO — Brazil star Neymar says next year's World Cup in Qatar could be the last of his career.
The comments by the 29-year-old striker were made in the documentary “Neymar & The Line Of Kings,” produced by DAZN. An excerpt was published on the channel's Twitter feed on Sunday.
“Man, I think it will be my last World Cup,” Neymar said. “I am facing it like the last World Cup because I don't know whether I will be able to, mentally, to endure more soccer."
“I will do everything possible to get there very well,” he added. “I will do all I can to win it with my country and realize my dream, the biggest since my boyhood." Neymar played in Brazil's 0-0 draw at Colombia later Sunday in a World Cup qualifying match. The Seleção leads the 10-team round robin competition with 28 points after 10 games. Neymar missed last week's 3-1 win at Venezuela because of suspension.
Brazil coach Tite was asked about Neymar's below-par performance, which included 17 missed passes and 30 losses of possession.
“He is an exceptional player because he makes exceptional plays, he does it exceptionally and not ordinarily,” Brazil’s coach said. “He is a special player, we know it. And he was also well marked, sometimes by two players.”
The match in Barranquilla marked Neymar's first international match since the 2-0 win against Peru on Sept. 10, in which he turned in a key Brazil performance with an assist and a goal. Despite his efforts, Neymar made clear after the match that he is upset with the treatment he gets at home.
“I don’t know what else I need to do with this shirt for people to respect Neymar,” he said. Local media accused the striker of being out of shape in the 1-0 win at Chile earlier in September, which prompted the striker to walk around shirtless during training in a bid to demonstrate his fitness.
Against Peru, Neymar overtook Romário as Brazil's top goal scorer in World Cup qualifiers, with 12 goals. He is also approaching Pelé's record of 77 official goals for Brazil. The Paris Saint-Germain striker has scored 69 times for Brazil.
Neymar has so far played at two World Cups. In 2014, he picked up a back injury in the quarterfinals against Colombia, which stopped him from playing in the shocking 7-1 semifinal loss to Germany.
In the most recent edition of the tournament, Neymar had just returned from a serious foot injury and turned in an unimpressive performance in Brazil's 2-1 quarterfinals defeat to Belgium. He left Russia 2018 amid heavy criticism for his apparently exaggerated reaction to being fouled.
Neymar won the 2013 Confederations Cup title with Brazil, and also won the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. He was injured before the 2019 Copa America, which Brazil won at home. (AP)