Go back to the 2014 World Cup, and it looked like Neymar Jr had the world at his feet. At the peak of his performative powers, the Brazilian was in incredible form for club and for country. An injury to the back suffered against Colombia seen the Selecao eventually crash out of their own tournament as 7-1 losers to Germany. However, for Neymar, it was a springboard tournament and one that solidified him as the next in line from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In 2022, though, the player has only one thing going for him: his name and reputation. If you were picking a Brazil side based on purely form, Neymar would be lucky to be in the top thirty players of Brazilian origin. His form has been mostly poor for the 2021-22 season, and has culminated in doing very little to contribute to the Ligue 1 title challenge or the UEFA Champions League knockout against Real Madrid.
Now, though, for the first time in a long time, there are noticeable calls back in Brazil for Neymar to be dropped from the national team. His total lack of form for club has now been brought to his country, and fans are beginning to grow tired of his lackadaisical performances. Truthfully, it has been some time since Neymar showed the class and quality that made him such a household name in 2014.
Reports suggest that Brazil might look to persevere with a player seen as the talisman of the national team. Having failed to fire at World Cup events in the past, though, can Brazil continue to count on a player who looks to have lost much of the fire that made him so special?
Brazil keen to try out other forward options
With so many keen young attackers on the Selecao list, Neymar is not undroppable. The Brazil national team can always call upon exciting attacking footballers, and new ones are appearing all the time. The rise to form from the likes of Antony and Vinicius Jr has put some pretty incredible pressure on Neymar to show up and perform.
This is not like playing for a small national team where there is but one clear star. This is different – Brazil have no need to rely on any player who is not producing at 100%. As such, it should come as no surprise that some are keen to see Neymar dropped from the national side.
The player himself has admitted that this will be his last World Cup, and that he is not sure if he has the mental capacity to keep playing at the top level. As such, this is a now-or-never tournament for the Brazilian who could become the nations all-time top goalscorer. However, with his form as it is, he will be lucky even to make it to the tournament in the first place.
There is much to enjoy about Brazilian football at the moment – the form of the key player, though, is not one of them.