Neymar has branded Brazil’s World Cup quarter-final defeat at the hands of Belgium “the saddest moment of my career” and admits he is struggling to “find the strength to play again”.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward headed to Russia short of match sharpness but expected to carry the expectations of a nation.
He never truly sparkled on the grandest of stages, with a pre-tournament broken metatarsal denying him the opportunity to produce his best.
Neymar wrote in an Instagram post: “I can say that this is the saddest moment of my career, it is incredibly painful because we knew we could get there, we knew we had conditions to go further, to make history.
“But it was not this time. It’s hard to find the strength to play soccer again, but I’m sure God will give me strength enough to face anything, so I’ll never stop thanking God, even in defeat … because I know that your way is much better than mine. I’m very happy to be part of this team, I’m proud of all the players. Our dream was interrupted but they didn’t get it out of our head or our hearts.”