Neymar defends Brazil call, compares Saudi league to French


Brazil ahead Neymar mentioned he isn’t totally match to play within the two opening rounds of World Cup qualifying due to the fitting ankle damage that has sidelined him since February.

Neymar left Paris Saint-Germain for Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal however hasn’t but performed for his new membership. He mentioned in a press convention Thursday that the Saudi Pro League could possibly be pretty much as good as France’s Ligue 1 — if not higher.

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Brazil will play its first match in World Cup qualifying on Friday within the Amazon metropolis of Belem towards Bolívia. Then the Selecao will journey to face Peru on Tuesday.

Neymar clarified his damage standing forward of the video games after Al Hilal coach Jorge Jesus criticised the Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) for calling him up whereas he was nonetheless not in bodily situation to play.

The 31-year-old, although, mentioned that he has joined up with Brazil in related situation earlier than and nonetheless performed, including that Jesus was simply wanting to “protect” him.

“I feel well, happy, but obviously I am not 100% fit. But my head is well, my body is well,” Neymar mentioned. “I was going to play the latest match [of Al Hilal], but I was hit during training and the coach chose to leave me out, so I could come to Brazil.”

Neymar’s most-recent match for Brazil was the World Cup quarterfinal loss to Croatia. He left Qatar with doubts about his future within the nationwide crew and didn’t play the Selecao’s first three video games this yr.

Now Neymar’s doubts appear to be over.

“After a lot of pressure from family and friends [to return to the national team] you start giving value to everything you did,” Neymar mentioned. “When you are with your people, your family, they put you in your place and make you see it is worth to continue being happy by wearing Brazil’s shirt.”

Neymar wants one purpose to transfer previous Pelé’s 77 objectives as prime scorer for the nationwide crew in official matches, an achievement that the CBF shouldn’t be eager to have a good time due to its totally different depend of the tally; it says the three-time World Cup winner has 95 objectives.

Neymar agreed that the mark is one other incentive for him to play for Brazil, although.

“It is hard to know what that record means, but it does mean a lot,” he mentioned. “No one ever thought about overcoming that. It is something I will respond after it is done.”

Neymar, who confronted criticism from followers in France in recent times and left PSG amid experiences he was not needed on the membership, took a swipe at his earlier league through the press convention.

Asked how he would maintain aggressive in a league outdoors Europe, Neymar mentioned: “I assure you that soccer there [in Saudi Arabia] is the same. The ball is round, there’s a goal, and if you look at the names that have gone to the Saudi league… I don’t know whether it is better than the French league or not.”

“I want to win titles for Al Hilal, my head won’t change much. Everyone said the same when I went to France [about competitiveness], and it was the place I was hit the most in my life,” Neymar added.

“I am sure that it won’t be easy to win the Saudi championship, other teams got stronger, have famous players. It will be very interesting and I am sure you will be watching.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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