How Crucial is Neymar to Brazil’s Chances of Success at Russia 2018?

Brazilian football has been littered with legendary players like Pele and, in more recent times, Ronaldo, Romario and Ronaldinho who have become household names after superb careers for the seleção but, when the dust settles on his career, it may just be that Neymar goes down in history as the best of them all.

With English fans eulogising about Wayne Rooney’s record-breaking goal-scoring feats for England, his return of 53 goals from 119 appearances pales into insignificance when taking a glance at Barcelona’s star striker.

Neymar has hit an incredible 52 goals from just 77 outings and all before his 26th birthday. It’s strike rate that compares favourably to the great Romario, whose career ended with 55 goals from 70 appearances in the famous yellow shirt.

Ronaldo bagged 62 from 98 caps while Ronalinho’s 33 from 97 games was a creditable record for an attacking midfielder.

Despite his obvious goalscoring prowess, Neymar seems to have flown under the radar to a certain extent and one explanation might be that 35 of his 52 goals have come in friendlies and just 17 in meaningful matches.

However, he did find the net four times in the 2014 World Cup on home soil and is progressing as a player year-on-year at the Nou Camp alongside fellow South Americans Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Brazil have romped through qualification for the 2018 World Cup and, with four games to go, have already booked their spot in Russia, with ten wins and three draws from 14 matches.

The race to join them is intense and punters looking for a bet on qualification should check out Bethut’s football predictions before laying their money down.

The five-time World Cup winners have scored 35 goals to date, with Neymar contributing six but it has been far from a one-man show.

Thirteen other players have also got their names on the score sheet, with Gabriel Jesus and Paulinho both netting four.

Philippe Coutinho, Renato Augusto and Willian have contributed three and it has been an all-round effort to dominate the CONMEBOL qualification race.

But Neymar remains the ‘go-to’ man and will be the player that head coach Tite looks to for inspiration next summer.
The former Santos ace has shown that he can hack it at the top level, with 105 goals from 186 appearances across four seasons for Barca and that is no mean feat with the quality of attacking players at the Nou Camp.

He will not be overawed by leading the line in Russia and will hope to cement his place in Brazilian football folklore by helping the Canarinho claim a sixth World Cup title.

The signs are good that they might just be able to do that, as Brazil are currently ranked as the top side in world football and look a different side under Tite than the one that struggled with Dunga at the helm.

The boss has brought back a few old heads but has generally got the same squad playing a more attacking brand of football and believing in themselves.

From hitting rock bottom after the 7-1 World Cup semi-final drubbing to Germany three years ago, Brazil are now genuine contenders to win next summer’s World Cup and, in Neymar they have a man who seems destined to add a World Cup winner’s medal to his haul before hanging up his boots.

Subscribe to comments Comment | Trackback |
Post Tags: , , , , , ,

Browse Timeline

Add a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>