- With eight teams in Quarter-final, each of them are three win away from lifting World Cup
- After early exit of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from World Cup, Neymar, the only trio in the contest, has the platform set to eye the cup and begin a new era for Ballon d’Or
- Magical Neymar keeps on inspiring Brazil and also providing enough to his critics. But is it fair to criticise him?
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known as Neymar Jr. or Neymar, the awe-inspiring talent of Brazilian and World football, will not allow your eyeball to vacillate. When on pitch, on the ball or off it, he will just make you sit and watch him, with his magnificent run through left flank or anywhere on the field, he will always hog the limelight and positively for his team Brazil or Paris Saint-Germain. No wonder he is highest paid footballer of this planet and if rumours are to be believed, an announcement away from replacing CR7 in Bernabéu.
Neymar has been in news for right and wrong reason of late. Right reason because, we cannot ignore him or his influence in the game. Brazil started this world cup campaign with a draw against Switzerland. That match saw flurry of fouls, total 31, and Neymar was at receiving end in 10 of such cases. It was highest for any individual in World Cup after Alan Shearer of England against Tunisia in 1998. After the match, frustrated Neymar call for Referee action during such situation. After introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee), though it helped in some situations, but it also affected pace of the game. Rules have been introduced and modified to make the game of football more beautiful and protect creativity against brutality on field. VAR and Referee have to ensure that we should not be denied those moments in football which would be remembered for years to come.
I actually agree with Lalas. Wow. That was a hack-a-shack type approach with Neymar and the ref empowered it with no deterring
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) June 17, 2018
Neymar was fouled 10 times in this match vs Switzerland, most for any player in a World Cup match since Alan Shearer was fouled 11 times against Tunisia on June 15, 1998.
It also is the most fouls suffered for a Brazilian player in a World Cup match since 1966. pic.twitter.com/AZSI1a3gbF
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 17, 2018
Negative Media Coverage
Still he is considered as problem child, why? Perhaps he expresses himself on the field, be it Penalty incident involving Cavani, just after his arrival in Paris or any other. These are all in surface, ready to be published in media and critics dont miss such opportunities. But off the field, he does not decide who is going to be brought in Club or National squad. You all know some stars command these privileges, which had adverse effect on their teams. You may only argue that he still has long way to go to attain that stature.
Huge media attention is paid to his hair-style and other demeanours on field. What is astonishing that nobody covered the determination and efforts that the recovering process took when he fractured ankle early this year and was even uncertain for World Cup till he took ground on 3rd June against Croatia, one of the eight World Cup quarter-finalist, in a friendly at Anfield.
Earlier Neymar was unsure about World Cup 2018, after he sprained his right ankle and damaged his fifth metatarsal in a Ligue 1 match against Marseille on 25th February this year.
Neymar Injuries against Marceille on 25-Feb-2018
He had subsequent corrective surgery in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on 3rd March, after Brazil national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar agreed on the operation. It had estimated three months of recovery period. Though Neymar initially decided to stay back in Rio, he came back to Paris in April and had ultrasound therapy to step up recovery process.
Through out the recovery he was tentative and in his own words “This injury is difficult, and the biggest challenge is right now, going to the World Cup after not playing for three months”-as he spoke to social media channel.
Neymar Injuries against Colombia in World Cup 2014
It can be remembered the he was out of 2014 World Cup because of the injury that he sustained, when Juan Zuniga of Colombia challenged him from back in the Quarterfinal.
The Barcelona striker was taken off the pitch on a stretcher. He was taken to a private clinic in Fortaleza – “crying out in pain”, then Brazil manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari once revealed to media. X-ray later revealed that he had fractured one of his vertebrae. The unfortunate accident not only took away Neymar’s chances to play subsequent matches for his country, it was almost career-threatening. Neymar once alluded to the seriousness of the injury. Shortly after he took the hit, he said in an interview that he “could be in a wheelchair” had the knee come a little to the left. Neymar has always been emotional about the injury. He was put under a long recovery process and was sidelined until Aug. 4 that year.
FIFA World Cup 2018
Back to FIFA World Cup 2018, if we see the matches Brazil played, all the matches were evenly contested up to a point. Teams had their share of chances and when those matches were decisively concluded, there is one common influence that we could found. He has always contributed if he is there on field.
All of the eight teams in contest, have three consecutive matches to win, from now on and one will evetually succeed. For Brazil to lift the trophy, it will get Belgium in next match, and then France/Uruguay in Semi-final. If they were successful in those game, they will face one among Croatia, Russia, Sweden or England in the final. Each of them would be in search of effective strategy to neutralise talented Brazilian attack.
They know there will be one always trying to find a way, he will not be demoralised in middle of the game, nor he will hog limelight after the game. Whatever he can do, he will do on field. You blink for a moment and the match will be taken away from you. He will run till he gets tripped.
Mexico match in Round of 16, was not much different. Switzerland and Mexico matches, saw 19 and 18 number of fouls against Brazil. Number of fouls committed against Brazil is 61, whereas they fouled 36 times in four games. Yellow card record in World Cup 2018, is in Brazil’s favour -6/11.
Negative Social Media
Still Neymar has been facing lots of criticism. Social media has gone rampant with jokes which has nothing to do with football and derogatory in nature. Even commercials those were made for fun, are not funny at all.
#Neymarism: A psychological condition where the victim feels an uncontrollable urge to pretend or exaggerate hurt or injury to the level of deathlike pain, often through sheer imagination – by someone on WhatsApp ???? pic.twitter.com/gIDS2gZqKe
— Shyamanga Barooah (@Shyamanga) July 4, 2018
— George J. Podbereski (@gjp2020) July 4, 2018
Brazil legend Ronaldo laughed off the criticism on Neymar and the memes those are flooding in social media. “There are many ways to see football and interpret it,” Ronaldo told reporters. He also defended him saying, “I am against all these opinions [on Neymar acting]. He is an intelligent player in his movements and on how to defend himself from being tackled. I don’t think referees have been protecting him enough.” He also added, “When people repeatedly hit me I would feel a sense of unfairness. Criticism is nonsense. TV shows and newspapers just want to fill the space.”
Brazil needs you
Don’t let all these negativity affect you Neymar… Go Neymar Go…
As Rivaldo summed up mood of Brazilians and football fans across the world, who wants to see you on pitch and rocking for next 10 days.