Neymar: All I want is the title

2014-06-12 08:32

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São Paulo – Brazil’s star striker Neymar and team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari were relaxed yesterday as they appeared before reporters a day ahead their World Cup opener against Croatia.

“I don’t want to be the World Cup’s best player, or the top scorer. All I want is the title, that’s what I have always dreamt of,” Neymar said.

Scolari stressed that his team is ready to charge for the trophy. “The time has come. This is our World Cup,” he told reporters in São Paulo’s Arena Corinthians.

Scolari, who already led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title, noted that he is looking forward to putting his ideas “in practice and seeing whether they are right”.

Brazil’s coach said he is not particularly anxious about his team’s performance and continues to sleep very well ahead of the opener.

Speaking of sleep, Croatia coach Niko Kovac stressed that he is not afraid of Brazil superstar Neymar.

“I haven’t lost any sleep over Neymar. He is a world-class player, but I have had six months to study Brazil,” he said. “Little Croatia also have world-class players,” he said.

Kovac was confident about his men’s chances in the high-profile match against the hosts.

“We’re always up for delivering a surprise. I am confident that my team can achieve a historic result, if things go according to plan,” Kovac said late yesterday at the Arena Corinthians.

Croatia will try to destabilise the hosts, who are for many the top candidates to win the tournament, through brave attacking football, Kovac said.

“We won’t be putting a bus before our goal. We want to attack and look for our chance. And we will fight till the final whistle, I can promise that,” he said.

Neymar (22) admitted that he is a bit restless as well as happy ahead of today’s match against Croatia.

“Many people would like to be here. I get messages from my friends telling me that I am making their dreams come true as well as mine. I hope I can help my team as well as possible and to make everyone’s dream, which is the title, come true,” the striker said.

When asked whether he would like to ask Scolari anything, Brazil’s superstar resorted to a joke. “Coach, will I be a starter in tomorrow’s game? Can I go to sleep with that peace of mind?” Neymar joked.

Scolari pretended to hesitate and said he needed to “think about it”, but then afforded his most creative player that confidence: “You can sleep with that peace of mind.”

Neymar welcomed his responsibility as the top star in the host nation’s team, and stressed that he is “ready” and used to playing with such pressure. “I am ready to help my team-mates. I don’t play on my own. There are 11 players on the pitch,” he said.

He admitted that he is hoping to score goals, and would rather not have to wait for the first one. “I hope it comes against Croatia and is an easy goal, if possible of the kind without the keeper,” Neymar said with a laugh.

He said that his first shirt of the tournament will go to his mother, and he called upon Brazilian fans to support the host team. “We have high hopes for the fans, we want them to be the 12th player, or even the most important player,” Neymar said.

“If the fans are behind us for the whole match, it will be hard to beat the Seleção.”

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