Saturday 25 May 2019

John Giles: Brazil have a World Cup problem and it's one I didn't see coming before the tournament

Neymar (Felipe Dana/AP)
Neymar (Felipe Dana/AP)

John Giles

BRAZIL have a problem with Neymar and it’s one I didn’t anticipate when I sat down to pick my World Cup winner.

Neymar has turned up in Russia with the weight of a nation on his shoulders but from what I can see, he wants to win the World Cup for himself and not his team.

His first act with the ball against Switzerland was to show boat and he spent the rest of the game rolling around the ground like he’d been shot.

He doesn’t look fully fit and after the season he’s had at PSG, that’s not a surprise. If he really wants to impress the world, the only way he will do it is by helping his team-mates.

There’s only room for one Ronaldo on this planet and he has managed to make a virtue of his lust for the limelight, as we saw so spectacularly in the wonderful 3-3 draw between Portugal and Spain.

Neymar desperately wants to be up there with Ronaldo and Messi, but his form doesn’t match such a billing right now and he has a distance to travel before he would even be accepted into a debate about the relative merits of those two giants of the game.

It is hilarious to watch popular opinion flip back and forth about Messi and Ronaldo on the basis of one free-kick from the Portuguese hitman and a 1-1 draw for Argentina against Iceland.

I must say, it was the best free-kick I’ve ever seen in a pressure situation and I doubt I will ever see better.

But it won’t change my mind about who is the best in the world. Messi, every time.

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