Neymar declared "I don't think there is a new Neymar" but the in-form Paris Saint-Germain forward feels like he is "a more complete player".

The Brazil international has made a great start to the season, scoring 11 goals in 13 games for PSG.

Neymar has also provided nine assists for the Ligue 1 champions, who are reaping the rewards of having the former Barcelona man fully fit after he spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury last season.

The 30-year-old's impressive performances bode well for Brazil ahead of the World Cup in Qatar and he thinks his all-round game is better than it has ever been.

He told PSG TV: "I don't think there is a new Neymar. I think just that things have dropped into place. I'm having a very good start to the season, like when I came here and in my first two or three years.

"I feel a more complete player now, because I can defend, attack or score goals, make assists, whatever you like. I think I'm now more complete than before.

"I think everyone helps. Of course, I know I'm not an extraordinary defender, but I at least try to help my team-mates however I can."

Neymar is dreaming of a World Cup and Champions League double.

He said: "I'm very happy to have started my season well, whether it be with Paris Saint-Germain or the Brazil national team.

"The aim this year is to win with both teams, to win everything with Paris and Brazil. We have a World Cup coming up and we know just how difficult that competition is.

"But I have a dream of winning it, just like the Champions League will be soon in Paris, I'm sure of that."

Brazil will be the number one side in the world when the Qatar 2022 World Cup starts next month, after strengthening their lead in the FIFA rankings.

The Selecao head into this year's tournament looking to break a two-decade hold by European nations on the sport's top prize, having been the last country from outside the continent to triumph at the South Korea and Japan 2002 finals.

Tite's side have slightly stretched their points advantage above second-placed Belgium, whom they displaced atop the list in March.

Brazil and Belgium head up an unchanged top five, with Argentina remaining at number three, World Cup holders France at four and England – who have endured a dismal 2022 – in fifth place.

The Three Lions will top the strongest group at Qatar 2022, Group B, when taken on points, with fellow nations the United States, Wales and Iran all ranked inside the top 20.

Italy, who are the highest-ranked nation not qualified for the World Cup, have forced the only move inside the FIFA top 10 as they head to sixth from seventh in a straight swap with Spain.

The Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark round out the top 10, with Germany just beyond them at number 11, ahead of 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia.

The lowest-ranked side at this year's tournament will be Ghana, who sit at 61st on the FIFA list, while hosts Qatar are in 50th place.

Mikel Arteta expects Arsenal to benefit from Gabriel Jesus' absence from the Brazil squad as he hopes to show Tite what he is missing before the World Cup.

Arsenal are top of the Premier League ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, but none of their three senior Brazilian stars were called up by the Selecao last month.

Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and Jesus had all been part of Tite's squad during the previous international window in June.

Yet they now face a race against time to prove themselves before Qatar 2022, which kicks off next month.

Jesus was a particularly surprising omission, having scored four goals and assisted another three in seven league appearances since joining Arsenal in July.

But Arteta revealed a determined response from his number nine, telling reporters of Jesus: "He's incredibly humble.

"He accepted the decision and the way he trained, it was just: 'Okay, I need to improve. I need to get better. I need to do more. I really want to be there [at the World Cup], it's a big aspiration for me, it's an incredible opportunity. And I'm in the right place to do that.'

"So, I think we will see that on the pitch again."

At international level, Jesus appears to be in direct competition with Spurs striker Richarlison, who has hit form at the right time with seven goals in his past six outings for Brazil.

Jesus is set to come up against him this weekend, but Arteta says his striker cannot be concerned by how others fare.

"He can only control what he can do. He cannot control what other players do," the Arsenal manager said. "And he's only focusing on that.

"So, he has ambition. We know that he plays with incredible commitment. And [on Saturday] he will play that way."

Former Liverpool and England striker Emile Heskey has questioned whether football is ever going to "move forward" in dealing with racism.

After scoring for Brazil in a 5-1 win over Tunisia at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Tuesday, Tottenham forward Richarlison had a banana thrown on the pitch in front of him from the stands.

The player expressed outrage after the game and called for stiff punishments to be imposed, though appeared to doubt strong action would be taken.

Spurs team-mate Harry Kane and former England captain Rio Ferdinand offered their support, while Richarlison's club boss Antonio Conte said on Thursday there must be heavy sanctions, saying: "For sure I hope these people are banned from football for the rest of their lives."

In an interview with Stats Perform, Heskey was also not sure any punishment handed out would be enough, and raised wider concerns about how racism is dealt with by the football authorities.

"It's a tough one for me to really discuss because we still haven't moved forward," he said. "And are we going to move forward? That's the question I keep asking, are we going to move forward?

"We keep asking for certain things. We keep saying that we're getting better, and we've moved on. We're not going anywhere to be honest with you.

"They might get fined £5,000. Then I'll go and do something with betting and I'll get fined £100,000.

"The thing is priorities... It's not [treated as] a priority."

Heskey – who is the seventh top scorer in Premier League history with 516 goals – did concede that some progress is being made as racism is at least discussed more openly now compared to previous years, but does not feel enough is actively being done to deal with it.

"It's sad because I've got kids playing... they could still be going through what their grandparents went through and that's 50 years apart," he added.

"Are we getting anywhere? We are because we are discussing it. When my grandparents were going through it, we weren't discussing it. Now we're discussing it, which is great.

"But we've got no action. No call to action. Nothing."

Antonio Conte wants a lifelong ban from football to be imposed on the supporter who threw a banana at Richarlison while the Tottenham striker was on Brazil duty.

The apparent act of racist abuse came as Richarlison celebrated scoring in a 5-1 win over Tunisia at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Tuesday.

Richarlison expressed outrage after the game and called for stiff punishments to be imposed, while appearing to doubt such strong action would be taken.

The likes of his Spurs team-mate Harry Kane and former England captain Rio Ferdinand have offered their support, demanding action is taken, and now Tottenham boss Conte says there must be heavy sanctions.

"I think we have to take the good part of the situation. Richy played with the national team, scored goals," Conte said.

"Then what happened is incredible because in 2022 to witness this type of situation is embarrassing for everybody.

"For sure I hope these people are banned from football for the rest of their lives.

"It's a very disappointing situation to have to make a comment on this. I want to take the best part of the game from Richy. He scored goals and he enjoyed playing with Brazil."

Tottenham said in a statement on Wednesday the club were "disgusted" by the abuse, adding: "This has no place in football, or anywhere. We stand with you, Richy."

Harry Kane said the racist abuse that Tottenham team-mate Richarlison faced this week was "unacceptable" as he called on FIFA to ensure "the right consequences" happen.

The Brazil forward had a banana thrown at him while celebrating a goal with team-mates during the Selecao's 5-1 friendly win over Tunisia in Paris on Tuesday.

Richarlison used social media afterwards to appeal for strong punishment, while others including former England defender Rio Ferdinand have come out in support.

Now Kane has added his voice to pleas for the world governing body to get tough on racism, and backed his club-mate.

"It was very disappointing to see," Kane told ESPN Brasil. "I haven't seen [Richarlison] and had a chance to talk about the racism that he suffered against Tunisia.

"I think FIFA have said they are going to investigate and find out what happened, but normally, that kind of thing is unacceptable."

Kane, captain of England, added: "I think we're doing all as much as we can do as players to kick out [racism] as much as possible. I hope FIFA can be strong and find out who done it, making sure the right consequences are made."

Kane further vouched for Richarlison's personal attributes, saying: "He's a great guy. He works really hard and is really professional. I'm really happy to have him in our team."

Rio Ferdinand called on football federations to take more action against racism after a banana was thrown at Richarlison during Brazil's 5-1 friendly victory over Tunisia on Tuesday.

A banana appeared to land near Richarlison as the Tottenham forward celebrated scoring Brazil's second goal near the corner flag at Parc des Princes in Paris.

The incident comes after Vinicius Junior, Richarlison's international team-mate, was told by a Spanish agent to "stop playing the monkey" in relation to his goal celebrations.

Richarlison himself received criticism last month when he started doing kick-ups late in Spurs' 2-0 away win at Nottingham Forest.

And former England international Ferdinand believes it is wrong that, in his view, Richarlison received as much condemnation for his showboating against Forest as Tuesday's incident with the banana has.

"You've got your own kids waking up and saying: 'Dad, have you seen that banana thrown on the pitch at Richarlison?' It's madness," Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel.

"There was probably as much vitriol and hysteria on social media and in the media in general as there were with this banana incident, racism incident, as there was when Richarlison was doing kick-ups."

The Manchester United legend also believes more should be done by footballing powers, adding: "I'm not saying football can change or cure racism because I would be an idiot to think that.

"Football can play a good part in highlighting issues and standing together, standing strong and standing unified to make the authorities and powers that be put things in place to protect people, but it ain't happening. It's disheartening.

"Another day racism is okay and welcomed in football. Look at the reaction to the stuff with Vinicius Jr. I don't see the federations coming out and absolutely backing these players and going absolutely against it or a big press conference being called and saying 'we ain't having this'."

Tottenham have offered their support to striker Richarlison, who was the subject of racist abuse while on international duty with Brazil.

A banana appeared to be thrown at Richarlison from the stands as he celebrated his goal in a 5-1 win over Tunisia at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

The Spurs man responded on social media, warning "it will continue like this" until such incidents are punished.

Richarlison has received the backing of his Brazil team-mates, and Tottenham added a message of support on Wednesday.

"We are disgusted by the racist abuse of Richarlison at last night's game between Brazil and Tunisia," the Premier League club posted on Twitter.

"This has no place in football, or anywhere. We stand with you, Richy."

Neymar has hit out at Mallorca captain Antonio Raillo over controversial remarks directed towards Brazil team-mate Vinicius Jr.

The Real Madrid forward has been embroiled in a racism scandal after a Spanish agent told him to "stop playing the monkey" in reference to his dancing celebration.

Vinicius was then subject to a torrent of abuse from Atletico Madrid fans in Madrid's recent derby victory, celebrating Rodrygo's goal in his customary fashion after being urged to "keep on dancing" in a flood of support.

On Monday, Raillo cause further controversy when he accused Vinicius of using the "race card" when he is criticised.

"Vinicius should dance, but he shouldn't be foul, he shouldn't insult or belittle his fellow professionals; then when he is branded as provocative, he uses the race card," he told Diario de Mallorca.

Neymar has subsequently responded on social media, replying to a post from TNT Sport Brasil and asking: "Who is Raillo?" – accompanying his comment with a laughing face emoji.

Brazilian footballers have unfortunately been on the receiving end of recent abuse, with the incident on Vinicius followed by a banana being thrown at Richarlison after he scored for the national side in a 5-1 friendly victory against Tunisia on Tuesday.

Brazil defender Thiago Silva was "very sad" after team-mate Richarlison appeared to be subjected to racist abuse in a friendly win over Tunisia.

Video footage showed a banana being thrown at Richarlison as he celebrated scoring Brazil's second goal in Paris.

Silva previously played at the Parc des Princes – which hosted a large Tunisian contingent – with Paris Saint-Germain.

"It hurts me," the Chelsea defender said of the incident. "Frankly, I'm very sad. That's not football. Football is about supporting your team.

"Afterwards, on the field, we give our best for our team. But gestures like that [shown] on video, it's not good for football."

Discussing his return to Paris, Silva added: "It was good to come back to the Parc. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was against us. Normally, here, it is a good atmosphere for me, but today the public was against us.

"But it was good to come back here. I spent eight years, eight and a half years here – it was a good time to come back."

On the pitch, the Selecao enjoyed a dominant performance, with a brace from Raphinha, Richarlison's goal and a Neymar penalty securing a 4-1 half-time lead.

A first international goal for Flamengo striker Pedro concluded the 5-1 rout in the second half.

Neymar's goal, his 75th for Brazil, moved the forward within two of the Brazil record, held by legendary striker Pele.

"Neymar is incredible. He is a magician," Silva said. "Unfortunately, in the past years, he had very important injuries, but this year is different.

"He prepared a lot during the vacations. I was with him in Brazil, I saw him. I hope he can continue with this mentality [and] a good health to arrive well at the World Cup."

Brazil's Richarlison has urged for strong punishments to be issued to those found guilty of racial abuse, after having a banana thrown at him while on international duty.

The Tottenham forward scored the second of the game in Brazil's 5-1 victory over Tunisia in Paris but a comfortable win, the last international game before Brazil's World Cup campaign commences, was marred by the incident.

A banana was thrown as Richarlison celebrated his goal, his ninth in 20 appearances for the national side, which became the latest racist incident to impact Brazilian footballers.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr had suffered abuse from Atletico Madrid fans in his side's recent derby triumph, following on from quotes from a Spanish agent who told him to 'stop playing the monkey' in reference to his dancing celebration.

Both players received a flood of support following the jarring incidents but Richarlison has warned that things will not improve unless the widespread condemnation is followed up with punishments.

"As long as they say "blah blah blah" and don't punish, it will continue like this, happening every day and everywhere. No time bro!" he posted on Twitter.

Brazil's squad had lined-up ahead of the match to display an anti-racism banner which read: "Without our black players, we wouldn't have stars on our shirts".

Tite has slammed Dylan Bronn's challenge on Neymar during Brazil's win over Tunisia, claiming it was "a move to take a player out of the World Cup".

The Selecao completed their preparations for Qatar with a commanding 5-1 victory in Paris, with Neymar among the goals as his penalty took him to 75 at international level.

But the Paris Saint-Germain forward was subjected to a heavy challenge in the 42nd minute by Tunisia defender Bronn, who was sent off.

And while Tite welcomed the competitive nature of the friendly with Jalel Kadri's side, who were unbeaten in seven games, the Brazil coach was far from pleased with the treatment of his talisman.

"We were in an atmosphere where most of the fans were from Tunisia," he said. "At some points, I tried to locate our fans, they diluted. This has created an atmosphere of competitive play.

"The game on the pitch – we knew it would be competitive, loyal, but I didn't imagine the move that happened to Neymar. It's a move to take a player out of the World Cup.

"We try to make two friendlies with teams that are in the World Cup, because the degree of demand is very high, physical, technical and mental. Tunisia had seven games unbeaten.

"The competitive spirit doesn't allow you to play a friendly that doesn't have an emotional clash, so we wanted to prepare, and we were going to take that risk, yes. But it's what we decided."

The five-time world champions head to Qatar later this year on a 15-match unbeaten streak – winning their last seven – ahead of facing Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G.

A banana was thrown at Richarlison during Brazil's friendly against Tunisia in Paris, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said.

Richarlison scored the Selecao's second goal in a 5-1 win at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

But the victory in Brazil's final match before the World Cup was soured by reports of a racist gesture aimed at the Tottenham forward.

Video footage appeared to show a banana land near Richarlison as he celebrated his goal, and the CBF confirmed the incident on social media.

"Unfortunately, after the goal, a banana was thrown on the pitch towards Richarlison, scorer of the second Brazilian goal," a short statement read.

"The CBF reinforces its position to combat racism and repudiates any prejudiced manifestation."

Neymar closed in on Pele's all-time Brazil goalscoring record as the Selecao eased to a commanding 5-1 win over 10-man Tunisia at the Parc des Princes.

Playing on his home ground at club level, the Paris Saint-Germain forward netted his 75th senior international goal from the penalty spot – moving two shy of equalling the tally of legendary striker Pele.

Raphinha struck twice, while Richarlison and Pedro were also on target as Tite's side completed their World Cup preparations in emphatic fashion.

Montassar Talbi scored what proved a consolation for Tunisia, who had Dylan Bronn sent off as they suffered their first defeat in eight games.

Brazil led in the 11th minute when Casemiro's floated ball into the box was met by Raphinha, who sent a looping header beyond the dive of Aymen Dahmen.

Tunisia responded as Talbi nodded in from Anis Ben Slimane's free-kick, but the Selecao regained the lead less than two minutes later with Richarlison latching onto Raphinha's neat throughball and drilling through Dahmen's legs.

Neymar made it 3-1 when he calmly converted from 12 yards after Aissa Laidouni dragged down Casemiro, before Raphinha fired home his second goal of the game from Richarlison's lay-off.

Tunisia were reduced to 10 men before the break with Bronn shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on Neymar.

Antony and Vinicius Junior went close to increasing the advantage in the second half, before Pedro scored Brazil's fifth 16 minutes from time – the Flamengo forward brilliantly volleying in his first international goal.

Casemiro and Thiago Silva each almost made it six, but the Selecao had already done more than enough to stretch their unbeaten streak to 15 matches.

Tite has revealed Barcelona asked Brazil to be careful with Raphinha after losing four players to injury during the international break.

Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Frenkie De Jong and Memphis Depay have sustained injuries while they have been away playing for their countries.

Raphinha played 80 minutes of Brazil's 3-0 friendly win over Ghana on Friday and could face Tunisia on Tuesday.

Selecao head coach Tite says Barca requested that the winger's workload is managed.

He said: "In order for there to be maximum transparency, I tell you that today the Barcelona coaching staff spoke to our physical trainer and asked us to be careful of Raphinha.

"They have lost Araujo and for this reason they are worried. They asked us how the player is, if he is training well.

"The calendar of the big clubs is very congested and this worries us because until we meet for the World Cup, the players will play two games a week."

Raphinha has started four of the Blaugrana's six LaLiga matches this season following his big-money move from Leeds United and was on the field for just over an hour in a Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.

 

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