The 2018 World Cup hailed France as the title holder of the prestigious golden trophy, with Croatia taking the second spot, and a hopeful Belgian team clinging on to dear life with their third-place finish.
The competition might be through, and the best football players in the international scene have been named, but the stories are far from over, one of which is Neymar’s less than startling run at football’s grandest stage.
Neymar, together with his Brazilian team had a hard time coping against the underdogs, which is by all means, surprising. Their first game was against the underdog Swiss team where they finished the game in a 1-1 draw.
They somehow made up for their shortcomings on their second game as they defeated the Costa Ricans 2-0. Their next succeeding games also showed how strong of a force they were as they left Serbia and Mexico scoreless with their two scored goals each.
Unfortunately, their seemingly great run was put to an end when Belgium defeated them by a single goal. It was a devastating 2-1 defeat for the favorites, but they could do nothing other than to accept their fate.
What was supposed to be their chance of regaining their lost glory from their thrashing in Rio 2014, became another missed opportunity for them. Along with it were the dreams of Brazil superstar Neymar crashing down.
However, former Brazil footballer Julio Baptista believes that Neymar can still be called as the best football player in the world despite his dry spell at the World Cup.
First off, Neymar wasn’t in peak condition when they started playing in Moscow. The Paris Saint-Germain striker had just recovered from a foot injury. Though he was greenlit to play, it doesn't mean that he was fully recovered.
He still got loads of adjusting and preparations to do. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any time and energy to spend more time on any of those. This, according to Baptista and other sports analysts, is one of the biggest reasons why he failed to meet everyone’s expectations.
Neymar did his best to give Brazil the title that they craved for so long, but even his two goals in five appearances were no match to the overpowering strength that the Belgian squad showed.
Having been defeated 2-1 and eliminated out of the quarter-final in Kazan was a huge blow to their team. It’s where their reputation depends, and unfortunately, they lost it.
What makes this worse is that the Brazilian star was heavily criticized, with analysts saying that his performance was not fit for a superstar like him. Many labeled him as play acting his games throughout the whole competition.
However, his less than stellar performance in the World Cup is caused by other factors. One of which is his injury that he sustained in Ligue One.
Secondly, many believe that his overconfidence also played a crucial role in his games and his team’s campaign in the competition, knowing that he did a great job in his new club, Paris Saint-Germain.
But then again, his smooth days were short-lived as injury stopped him from going stellar in the Champions League.
Because of this, many believe that he won’t have any chance of winning this year’s Ballon d’Or award. However, Baptista is among the people who are hopeful that he still has a shot to it. Though this might not happen this year, it will in the future.
Baptista said in an interview that life is divided into different stages. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end.
In this case, Neymar’s stay in Barcelona was the beginning of his great career. He won numerous titles there and learned a lot from the star players that he played with.
It was his training ground, he implied, and his stay at Camp Nou served as a place where he learned everything he needs to know to become a legend of the game.
Then there comes his inevitable move out of Barcelona as he accepted a transfer deal to Ligue One club Paris Saint-Germain. Baptista said that it was an important thing for Neymar to do because he knew that he needed to be the best in the world.
And that is impossible if he’ll stay in Barcelona and play with Lionel Messi. Thus, moving to Paris Saint-Germain can give him a shot to become the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi.
Baptista continued by saying that Neymar isn’t there yet and he’s not yet the best, but this doesn’t mean that he won’t reach that stage. He said that consistent hard work and determination is what he needs to solidify his name as one of the greats in the football world.
However, it seems like he’s not very comfortable with his stay in his current team. Though there’s no solid evidence to this, it’s also likely that a move out of Paris Saint-Germain will happen sooner or later.
This is even made more possible with the many rumors that he’s being sought after by the men at Real Madrid after Los Blancos sold Cristiano Ronaldo to German club Juventus. As to what will happen in the future, we still don’t know.
But one thing’s for sure, and that Neymar will always find a way to achieve greatness, especially that he failed the World Cup this time.
Ligue One Career
The career of Neymar in Paris Saint-Germain is hanging in the balance as Real Madrid is most likely to become his second home. However, former French midfielder and club official Luis Fernandez said that the Brazilian striker would be staying in France.
Fernandez is currently serving as PSG’s sporting director at their training center. He confidently told reporters that there’s a huge likelihood for Neymar not to accept offers from any club even if it means rejecting Spanish giant Real Madrid.
As of now, Neymar is PSG’s biggest hope when it comes to getting the Champions League title, which up until now, they have failed to do.
Setting him free and letting him settle back at La Liga, and much worse to Real Madrid who are their European rivals would be a major blow to their status. Both the two teams, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-German, finished third in their respective leagues.
For sure, this will be a difficult decision for Neymar if ever he needs to decide whether he’ll stay or leave.
Also, having Neymar in Parc des Princes will greatly help Paris Saint-Germain’s offense, knowing that he’s become the go-to guy for Unai Emery. But then again, Emery left the team, and German coach Thomas Tuchel took over the team.
This leaves the club with numerous questions, and one of which is how Neymar will be dealt upon. This might also cause Neymar to ask himself whether moving out of PSG is the right thing to do as he again needs to adjust to their new manager next season.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus is a huge threat to PSG’s dominance in Europe. Because of this, the men at the French club would have more reasons not to give Neymar any chance of moving out of Paris Saint-Germain.
But it’s worth noting that Neymar isn’t the only PSG player targeted by Real Madrid. Reports also stated that Los Blancos are also considering 19-year-old French KylianMbappe.
This is another likely possibility as the teenage led France to win the World Cup title, a feat which his PSG teammate failed to do.
However, Fernandez also stated that he’s sure that Mbappe will stay with Paris Saint-Germain because the French striker said numerous times that he would help PSG win the Champions League title.
Though there’s no assurance that this will happen in the future, the guys at Parc des Princes are sure that he will.
Fernandez continued saying that the thought of Neymar and Mbappe leaving doesn't worry him, because, in the first place, this is impossible to happen.
Amidst the investigation to be performed again on the ways of spending by the PSG, as well as how they abide by the guidelines for fairness in the financial aspect.
Mohammed Ali, an avid writer, discusses how Mbappe would not be a better off asset to sell compared to Neymar, given that the former is younger by seven years.
And cost-wise, would not demand higher fees, brought about by his younger age, as well as his relatively little exposure and experience.
The PSG feels that Neymar would carry on with the Les Parisiens team in the meantime, despite the Spanish team being sensed to go after him in the summer. This was all because of Messi’s transfer of teams, which made them believe that Neymar may make a move as well.
How the next season would turn out, whether Neymar would still be playing or not, as well as what the attacker wants to happen is only known by Neymar and a few other people.
It can be remembered that he hasn't made the most of his France stint due to his injury he got playing against Marseille in February so that we can take a few hints from that.
Neymar and his cons
The referees seem to not be so into Neymar, as they really could have done more to keep fouls at bay for him. Their judgment seems to be skewed in favor of players other than Neymar, which is all reminiscent of Pele’s kick out moment in the 1996 World Cup.
During that time, Messi and Ronaldo have both entertained fans, all thanks to minimal injuries incurred for the past decade and a half.
Neymar, overall, didn’t have a good World Cup run, with crazy dives and having other more important players like Philippe Coutinho and Casemiro for the Brazilian team.
The victory parade of Brazil, had they bagged the trophy for this year, would have been sandwiched in a myriad of other events, such as the domestic football resumption, wherein cup games were held just a day after the final game of the World Cup.
The 13th round would also kick off on Wednesday, with the games beginning around the second to third weeks of April, and on the eve of the World Cup matches.
The federal setup of the football organization of the country has caused things to be complicated, as so much is crammed in a year because of this.
What the future has in store
There is a need to halt for one month, and the problem that this brings about becomes worse in the years that a World Cup is held. Brazil has 27 federal states, and each of these states come with their federation.
The national governing body is the CBF, and it’s these state federations that play a significant part in the power balance instead of the football clubs. Because of this, the clubs will have to play in state championships which are essentially meaningless, as there is one for each state.
The tournaments don't serve much of a purpose, despite these championships being the calendar highlights. The national league is compromised due to the several months of matches which are played to oppositions that bear very little significance.
There are questions as to whether or not it would improve Brazil’s recent performance for a revamp of the calendar that they use in their homeland. If we look at the top-performing players in Europe, however, what will happen in Brazil won’t have a greater significance.
On paper, it looks great, but it comes with not just one, but two major points to consider.
The first point is the local football organization, with some tweaking, could be better off financially. Should the national league be better organized, it could be able to garner even more attention on a global scale.
Not playing the petty games will make more players want to keep themselves in the team, as fewer games could imply better play quality, as well as larger crowd sizes given that there would be intervals and hence, more time for the audience to rest.
It would be difficult, with the current set-up to see how the good players can be encouraged to stay in their home team, with the too many games and the little skill progress as a result of it quite possibly a reason behind their departure.
Another point is that much of their skill-honing still takes place in their home team, no matter if they try to make a move abroad.
Examples of this are Kevin De Bruyne and Luca Modric, who were players with talents, an all-round midfielder, as well as the ones who had what it takes to play in the best way possible.
At present, we can't find any player from any of the federal teams which is at least on par with these players. There was an attempt to bill someone as a top-notch player, in the form of Philippe Coutinho, however.
He had a couple of great moments during the world cup, but the tediousness of it all took its toll. Towards the game’s end, he wasn’t as consistently efficient, nor was he keeping up with how good he is regarding defending.
This can be expected from someone who goes beyond the roles expected of them.
Did Brazil need someone to try and fit the great strength of players from other teams?
The pressure is on them, considering that other countries like Belgium and Croatia have produced players as popular as De Bruyne and Modric, respectively. It’s difficult considering that the local scenery needs some work.
In the World Cup, the games were problematic on the Midfield’s part, as they have been divided among themselves as to who would attack and defend, which eventually turned out to be a position in default.
The time that the team needs for them to training and work strategies out gets compromised because of the problematic calendar and the coaches’ careers are not at all secure.
The coach has always served as the scapegoat, the fall guy, whenever results have proven to be dismal, taking the blame and all that. This is most especially true for a country with a problematic Football setup like Brazil.
Producing of good quality midfielders is something that Brazil has to do, lest they would find themselves again in a cul-de-sac in other Football Leagues.
While it’s tempting to play safe, and do what other teams do, and given that the center-forward is a position that needs some work, it has to be accepted that something has to be fixed from the inside of the Brazil federation.
Indeed, things can and will get better.
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