When Neymar Junior burst onto the international scene with Brazil back n 2010, there was hope that he could be the next big thing in Brazilian football and succeed Ronaldinho and Kaka who were fading forces at the time. Neymar was expected by many to carry the Brazil team to the 2018 World Cup trophy and claim a place among the likes of top players such as Romario, Ronaldo, Zico and perhaps one day draw comparisons to the legendary Pele. Neymar is a world-class player and currently boasts 60 goals for his country from 97 appearances. He is on course to become the all-time top-scorer for his nation and overtake Pele who retired with 77 national team goals to his name.
As things stand though, Neymar may never reach the level of those players in spite of his incredible statistics and natural ability.It looks more likely that Richarlison or Vicinius Junior may do so, both of these youngsters are currently blossoming with Everton and Real Madrid respectively. In February, ESPN Brazil conducted a poll among and asked them who were the best footballers to come from the South American nation apart fro Pele. Neymar did not even get an honorable mention with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Romario, Zico, Rivaldo, Socrates and Kaka, Falcao and Careca all winning inclusion.
Neymar is arguably as talented if not more than many of the players on the list so why exactly do the Brazilian people not like him? The answer to this obviously stems from his public persona and the disrespect which he has shown to PSG.
Neymar’s career progress has been stalled by bad luck as well as bad decisions. The Metatarsal injury which forced him to miss the Copa America which Brazil recently won was just due to plain bad luck.
The disrespect that he has shown to PSG was just a bad decision. Neymar is a symbolic representation of why Brazil has struggled to exert itself in the World Cup since it won the tournament in 2002. He has all the natural skills and ability if not more than most of the World Cup winning players since but has simply lacked the same attitude as Gianluigi Buffon, Andres Iniesta, Thomas Mueller and Kylian Mbappe.