Brazil international Neymar has said the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will likely be the last one he plays in.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has sparked fears he may soon retire from football altogether, after saying he is not sure he has the ‘strength of mind’ to prolong his involvement in the game.
Neymar Sparks Retirement Fears After World Cup Comments
Forward is Brazil’s Second-Highest Ever Scorer
Neymar has long been considered a footballing hero in his native Brazil. He has already racked up 113 caps for his country.
The forward is also closing in on the men’s goalscoring record. He has just overtaken Ronaldo Nazário to move up to second in the all-time standings. Having scored 69 goals for his country, only Pelé (77) has scored more than the PSG star.
However, Neymar has revealed he may soon lose the hunger to continue representing Brazil’s national side. The 29-year-old told DAZN: “I think it [Qatar 2022] is my last World Cup.
“I see it as my last because I don’t know if I have the strength of mind to deal with football anymore.”
“So I’ll do everything to turn up well, do everything to win with my country, to realise my greatest dream since I was little. And I hope I can do it.”
A winner of multiple honours at club and international level, Neymar has won the Confederations Cup with Brazil, as well as Olympic Gold in 2016. This summer, Brazil lost the Copa America final to Argentina, in a match that famously yielded Lionel Messi’s first international trophy.
Neymar’s Energy-Sapping World Cup Story
If the 2022 edition is to be Neymar’s final World Cup venture, it will be the last of three attempts at winning football’s greatest prize for the Brazilian.
On home soil in 2014, the forward led his side to the semi-finals, but a fractured vertebrae ruled him out of competing with eventual winners Germany. The match ended in embarrassment for the hosts, who were beaten 7-1 at the Estadio Maracana.
In Russia four years later, Neymar managed to get fit for the tournament having missed the final months of the season with a foot injury. However, he could do nothing to prevent Belgium from knocking his country out with a 2-1 win at the quarter-final stage.