Neymar hints at Brazil retirement as Tite makes ‘pressure’ admission amid shootout criticism

Neymar looks dejected Credit: Alamy
Neymar looks dejected Credit: Alamy

Neymar has said he doesn’t know if Brazil’s quarter-final loss to Croatia in the World Cup will be his final appearance for his country.

Brazil crashed out of the World Cup on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

The game was goalless after 90 minutes before Neymar opened the scoring with a spectacular goal.

It was not enough to see the tournament favourites progress, however, after Bruno Petkovic’s deflected strike in the 117th minute meant the tie would be decided by a penalty shootout.

Defender Marquinhos missed the decisive spot-kick, with Neymar waiting until the fifth penalty to step up.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been criticised for waiting for the glory as the fifth taker, with Marquinhos’ miss meaning he did not get the opportunity to take a penalty.

Clearly very emotional following Brazil’s World Cup exit, Neymar hinted that his international career might be over.

He said: “Honestly, I do not know. I think talking now is bad because of the heat of the moment. Maybe I’m not thinking straight.

“To say that this is the end would be rushing myself, but I don’t guarantee anything either. Let’s see what happens going forward.”

Neymar added: “I want to take this time to think about it, think about what I want for myself.

“I will not close the door to playing with Brazil, nor do I say 100 percent that I’ll come back.”

Speaking in November, Neymar hinted that the 2022 tournament in Qatar could be his final World Cup.

“I can’t guarantee that I’ll play another [World] Cup,” he told Globo. “I honestly don’t know. I’ll play like it’s the last. Maybe I’ll play another one, maybe not. It depends.

“There’s going to be a coaching change and I don’t know if that coach will like me.”

After Brazil’s exit to the hands of 2018 finalists Croatia, Tite left his role as manager.

The 61-year-old took charge in 2016 and guided Selecao to Copa America glory in 2019.

His contract was set to expire after the World Cup, and given their surprise elimination as favourites, it is no shock to see Tite leave his post.

After Croatia’s victory, Tite told reporters: “As I said, my cycle is over. I said it over a year and a half ago. I keep to my word.

“We shouldn’t make a drama out of it as I said this one and half years ago. There are other great professionals that can replace me. There could be elements to analyse but the cycle is over.”

Tite also revealed why Neymar was set to take the fifth penalty.

“That’s the one with the most pressure, and he would be the player with the most quality and mental preparedness to take the shot,” he explained.

Neymar’s extra-time strike put him level with Pele with 77 goals in Brazil’s list of all-time top scorers.

READ MORE: Neymar’s social media obsession and ‘overrated’ Brazil’s dancing criticised after World Cup exit…

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