Neymar has admitted he does not expect to play another World Cup after the 2022 tournament in Qatar, as the strain of the game has taken its toll on his body and mind.
The Brazil star spearheaded his nation’s efforts to win their sixth crown at the 2014 and 2018 editions, only to see those quests fall short at the semi-final and quarter-final stages respectively.
And with little more than a year to go before the next competition kicks off, he is not optimistic about extending his international career through to the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
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What has Neymar said?
“I think it’s my last World Cup,” the Paris Saint-Germain star said in DAZN’s exclusive new documentary, Neymar & The Line of Kings.
“I see it as my last because I don’t know if I have the strength of mind to deal with football any more.
“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.”
“I don’t know if I have the strength of mind to deal with football anymore.”
Football stars in awe of Wilder, boxing heavyweight champion
Praise has poured in for Tyson Fury after he retained his WBC heavyweight title by beating Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The English boxer won the fight in the 11th round with a knockout, keeping his unbeaten record intact.
Fury declared himself “the fighter of the generation”, adding: “I can only be the best of my era and I’m definitely that”, and few could argue with him.
The 33-year-old has his share of fans in the football world, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling wishing him good luck ahead of the fight.
The adulation from football figures continued after Fury’s victory, too, and Jesse Lingard, Gary Neville, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer are among the figures to have been singing his praises.
Incredible that fight! @Tyson_Fury @BronzeBomber — Gary Neville (@GNev2)
What a fight. @Tyson_Fury talks the talk and walks the walk. Absolute legend with the heart of a lion. — michael owen (@themichaelowen)
Inspirational— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish).
That’s what you call a great heavyweight fight. Brilliant scrap. Congratulations @Tyson_Fury on another superb performance. What a champion.— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker)
Resurgent Italy claim third sport in Nations League
Italy withstood a late Belgium fightback to return to winning ways and claim third in the Nations League.
Nicolo Barella opened the scoring with a crisp volley a minute after the interval in Turin before Domenico Berardi scored from the penalty spot.
Belgium hit the woodwork three times before pulling one back through Charles de Ketelaere late on.
They pressed for an equaliser but Italy, whose 37-game unbeaten run was ended by Spain on Wednesday, held on.
After a dull first half of the bronze-medal match, Barella sparked the game into life with a stunning first-time strike into the bottom corner from a corner.
Roberto Mancini’s side doubled their lead from the spot when Thibaut Courtois’ glove could only divert Berardi’s effort into the top corner after Timothy Castagne had brought down the lively Federico Chiesa.
Belgium continued to dominate possession and Courtois released substitute Kevin de Bruyne to find De Ketelaere, who nutmegged an otherwise inspired Gianluigi Donnarumma from close range.
The Italy goalkeeper had earlier denied former Tottenham defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen with smart saves.
Musa revels in milestone as Nigeria silence CAR
The Super Eagles captain took to social media after reaching the milestone in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Wild Beasts
Ahmed Musa is revelling in the pride of making his 100th appearance for Nigeria during the 2-0 win over Central African Republic on Sunday.
The Fatih Karagumruk star became the third Nigerian centurion, moving one short of the Super Eagles’ record cap holders Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama, who have 101 appearances each.
Musa thought he had reached this mark against Cape Verde in September, however, Fifa chalked off his participation against Togo in June 2017 and versus Algeria in November of the same year.
According to the football ruling body, the friendly against the Hawks was not a Fifa-recognised game, while the World Cup qualifier against the Desert Foxes was cancelled as the Super Eagles fielded an ineligible player.
On Sunday, the former Leicester City man was subbed off for Chidera Ejuke as goals from Leon Balogun and Victor Osimhen pegged back the Wild Beasts in Douala.
He revelled in the landmark appearance, publishing a photo on Instagram with the accompanying caption: “Wow! What can I say? I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the support of my family, teammates, the officials and my fans.
“To crown it all, important three points in our game. Thank you so much, I don’t take any of this for granted. We will continue to make history and secure wins.”
After representing the country at youth level, the speedy forward made his senior debut on August 5, 2010, in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Madagascar, coming in as a substitute for ex-Chelsea star John Obi Mikel in the 2-0 win.
“The most important thing is the three points, and I will say a big thank you to all my teammates for supporting me, and by God’s grace, I know we can do it,” Musa told NFF media after Sunday’s game.
“And for all Nigerians supporting us and praying for us. We know we disappoint them sometimes but there is nothing we can do because that is the game of football.
“We will do all we can to make them proud and by God’s grace we will qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.”