Neymar was understandably distraught, but shocked his fans by saying there’s not a “100 percent” guarantee that he will be seen in the Brazil jersey again, after completing his 124th international appearance.
Neymar, 30, put Brazil ahead in the quarterfinal with a solo effort but was choked with emotion after his team eventually lost to Croatia to bow out of the World Cup. It was Neymar’s eighth World Cup goal overall.
It was the goal that put him in elite company with Pele for most goals for Brazil. But Pele won three World Cups, and Neymar may bow out without any after his third World Cup appearance ended in tears.
In 2014, his World Cup was cut short with a fracture in the back during the quarterfinal win over Colombia. In 2018, he battled to recover from a surgery to fix a bone in his foot, but couldn’t take his team past the last-eight stage, losing to Belgium in the quarterfinals.
“I am not closing any doors on the national team, but I am also not guaranteeing 100 percent that I will return,” he said after Brazil’s defeat.
Leo Perisić, Ivan’s son, running over to console Neymar Jr in tears. 🇧🇷🇭🇷 #Qatar2022This video is simply great 🤍🎥 https://t.co/xJeIn1Rxmv
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) 1670628632000
In this edition as well, Neymar faced the threat of an early World Cup exit after an ankle sprain forced him to miss two group matches. He returned fit to play the last-16 match against South Korea and scored as well, followed by another strike in the quarterfinal against Croatia.
Brazil have now exited the past five World Cups after defeats to European opposition, four times losing in the quarterfinals.
“I don’t know what will happen with the Brazil team going forward, but now we can only lament what has happened,” Neymar said.
🪄 Messi magic helps Argentina through 📈 Neymar joins the top of 🇧🇷 male goalscoring charts🔥 Two matches decided o… https://t.co/vJFiXv4liu
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) 1670632263000
Brazil coach Tite has stepped down, which means the team will be helmed by a new man. Players like Thiago Silva, aged 38, and Dani Alves, who is 39, will also move on before the next World Cup.
The 30-year-old Neymar, meanwhile, is contemplating his international future.
(With agency inputs)