Neymar has named four other countries alongside Brazil that he believes are “fully capable” of reaching the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar next month.
Brazil enter the tournament as one of the early favourites, looking to extend their own record number of World Cup titles to six with a first triumph on the global stage in 20 years.
The Selecao are well equipped to do so, with Neymar in his third World Cup and supported by a hugely talented squad with the likes of Alisson, Casemiro, Vinicius Junior and Marquinhos.
But competition is fierce, especially from South American rivals Argentina and Europe’s giants.
“The World Cup is full of surprises. You get teams that unexpectedly go very far even in the competition even though a lot of people don’t believe in them,” Neymar told the Telegraph.
“But I think the favorites are Argentina, Germany, Spain and France. I think those four together with Brazil are fully capable of reaching the final.”
“I really forgot about England but obviously they have a chance! I really like [Harry] Kane and [Jadon] Sancho. They are two incredible players and I have a special love for them because I like players who have their qualities,” he added, although Sancho was overlooked for the final England squad.
Neymar was on the verge of being included in Brazil’s squad for a World Cup back in 2010. He was just 18 at the time and was already a key player for Santos at club level, but he didn’t get his first senior international chance after the tournament in South Africa.
He was just a baby when Brazil lifted the World Cup in 1994 and just six years old in 1998 when Ronaldo inspired the team to the final but suffered a mystery seizure hours before kick-off. Neymar’s first real World Cup memories come later in 2002.
“I watched with my dad and family when Brazil won. I was buzzing,” he explained. “That’s my first memory of the World Cup and following it properly.
“In the 1994 World Cup, I only watched videos afterwards but I still enjoyed some moments from Romario, who I liked a lot. I have many idols, many references for me. Pele, obviously, Ronaldo, Romario, Kaka, Ronaldinho Gaucho. It’s my favorites.”
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