RAYAN, Qatar ( Associated Press) – Neymar cried uncontrollably as he walked off the field alongside Dani Alves.
Other classmates sat near the middle circle and tried to console her as she cried. He had no words to inspire his top man to raise his head.
The World Cup brought a new disappointment for Neymar. Once again he could not lead Brazil to a major title.
This was his third failure in the World Cup. His only appearances with the Selecao were at the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, when Brazil finally won its first gold in football.
Neymar later said that this was not the time to talk about his future with the national team.
“Honestly, I have no idea about the future. It’s too difficult to talk about right now,” he said. “I’m not thinking clearly. It’s too early to say this is the end. I need to give myself some time to think. I don’t close the doors for the national team, but I don’t guarantee anything either.
Less than an hour later, Neymar was in tears after scoring a historic goal, suffering perhaps the most painful defeat of his career.
Neymar on Friday equaled Pele as Brazil’s top scorer with 77 goals. But the quarter-finals lost to the Selecao 4–2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended 1–1 after extra time.
Star had no penalty opportunity in the shootout after Rodrigo and Marquinhos missed their shots.
Brazil coach Tite said, “He was going to take the fifth penalty.” “He is the one who is under the most pressure and is the player who has the most quality and mental preparation to get through it.”
Several minutes after the end of the match, Neymar slowly made his way to the stands where his country’s fans were, to whom he said goodbye. Alves patted him on the back.
It was completely different from the image seen about 40 minutes ago. Neymar escaped a defender, then goalkeeper Dominik Livakovia to convert in one of his best World Cup goals.
A few attempts were blocked by Neymar in regulation time after Livkovic celebrated his goal from the corner kick en masse with his teammates, although there was no dancing as in previous games.
Neymar, 30, reached two goals ahead of his compatriot in the Middle East. He missed two games in the first leg due to a right ankle injury.
The achievement came while Pele is still hospitalized in Brazil, treating himself for a respiratory condition. Latest reports suggest that his health condition is stable.
The 82-year-old veteran addressed Neymar from his bed.
“I watched you grow, I cheered you on every day and finally I can congratulate you on matching your number of goals with Brazil. We both know it’s more than a number,” Pele said. said in a message posted on his Instagram account. “Our greatest duty as athletes is to inspire. To inspire our colleagues today, generations to come and, above all, to inspire all who love our sport.”
“Unfortunately, it is not a happy day for us,” said Pele. “My record was set almost 50 years ago and no one has ever come close to it. You did it, boy. It shows the greatness of your achievement.
Neymar, who made his Canarinha debut at the age of 18 in 2010, scored 77 of his goals in 124 appearances for Brazil, while Pelé scored 92 between 1957 and 1971.
But unlike the legendary Pele, Neymar is yet to win any major championship with the national team.
Pele won three World Cups, including one in 1958 when he was 17. Furthermore, he helped his country establish itself in 1962 and 1970.
Neymar played in his third World Cup and is the only Brazilian besides Pelé and Ronaldo to be able to score in three different World Cups.
At the World Cup, Neymar was looking for personal revenge after a back injury sidelined him in the quarter-finals against Colombia in 2014 and the Brazilians lost 7–1 to Germany in the semi-finals.
The same right ankle bothered him at Russia 2018 and he could not progress further. Another sprain of that joint ruled him out of the 2019 Copa America which Brazil won.
Now, he leaves Qatar with the same desperation as before. But the painful loss may force them to reconsider for 2026.