Neymar 'destroyed' by Brazil World Cup exit as pain persists despite Pele plaudits

By Sports Desk December 10, 2022 434

Neymar is struggling to accept he has become yesterday's man at the Qatar World Cup, saying Brazil's exit has left him "psychologically destroyed".

Defeat on penalties to Croatia on Friday meant Brazil's campaign was over, with the pre-tournament favourites falling to the shock finalists from four years ago.

This may have been Neymar's final World Cup, and he was reluctant to commit to playing on for his country in the immediate aftermath of the game.

His dazzling goal gave Brazil the lead in extra time, but a late equaliser from Bruno Petkovic took the quarter-final to spot-kicks, and it was Zlatko Dalic's side who got the better of Tite's men.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, Neymar wrote: "I'm psychologically destroyed. This was certainly the defeat that hurt me the most, which made me paralysed for 10 minutes and right after I fell into non-stop crying. It's gonna hurt for a loooong time, unfortunately."

Neymar's strike meant the Paris Saint-Germain forward equalled Pele's record of 77 goals for Brazil, but that was no consolation. He came to win a World Cup and may now never get his hands on that trophy.

"We fought until the end," Neymar added. "That's what I'm proud of my team-mates for, because there was no lack of commitment and dedication. This group deserved it, we deserved it, BRAZIL deserved it... But this was not the will of GOD!

"Thank you all for your support with our national team. Unfortunately it didn't work out."

Pele sent Neymar an impassioned and long message after the game, with the Brazil great attempting to rally the current generation while he is in hospital.

The 82-year-old again reacted on Saturday to Neymar's latest message, telling him: "Continue to be an inspiration."

Brazil have not reached a World Cup final since their 2002 triumph gave the Selecao a record fifth title.

Neymar's former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez also offered his support.

Suarez, who went out with Uruguay at the group stage, told Neymar: "Much strength bro and onwards and upwards. Many times we fall, but we always have the strength to move forward because we fight a lot to succeed in this beautiful sport. Stay strong little brother."

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Last modified on Saturday, 10 December 2022 12:13
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