Tite: 'Neymar is ready to shine for Brazil'

Brazil coach Tite has said Neymar is yet to return to peak condition, but expects the forward to make an early impact at the World Cup.

Published : Jun 16, 2018 23:34 IST

Brazil's Neymar during a training session.
Brazil's Neymar during a training session.

Brazil's Neymar during a training session.

Neymar is yet to reach 100 per cent in his recovery from a broken foot but is poised to star for Brazil at the World Cup, according to head coach Tite.

The 26-year-old forward sustained a fractured metatarsal in February, placing his World Cup participation in some doubt.

The former Santos attacker made a scoring return to action in friendly wins over Croatia and Austria prior to Brazil's arrival in Russia, where it will take on Switzerland in its Group E opener in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday.

And while Neymar still has work to do to get back to his very best level, Tite believes he is still capable of exerting a decisive impact as Brazil goes in search of a sixth World Cup triumph.

Read: 'Practically impossible' to stop Neymar, Lichtsteiner admits

"Neymar is not 100 per cent yet," he said, at Rostov Arena. 

"But he is very privileged physically, his sprinting capacity and his speed is really impressive, he hasn't lost that. He's not 100 per cent yet. But he's good enough to play very well."

It remains to be seen who Tite chooses to play alongside Neymar in attack, with the coach refusing to confirm Chelsea's Willian will be part of the expected three-man frontline.  

"Well, you're going to see this on the pitch, it changes, it gets stronger, it shows itself," he said of his preferred XI, as Gabriel Jesus, Douglas Costa and Roberto Firmino also vie to feature from kick-off. 

"With 23 top athletes, today yes [Willian could start], but I can't say about tomorrow, I don't know what could happen, if you have a physical problem... I would like him to play a lot but he has to prove himself."

After suffering a crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinal of the previous World Cup on home soil, Brazil also underwhelmed in the Copa America, a group-stage exit in 2016 ending Dunga's second spell in charge. 

The Selecao has flourished under Tite, though, and the focus of the 57-year-old, a Copa Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores winner with Internacional and Corinthians respectively, wants Brazil to sustain its excellence in the lead-up to the finals in Russia. 

"It was a challenge, it still is, to keep the standards [up]," he said. 

"We were challenging them [the players]. We want to have this expectation for ourselves. We want every game to reproduce this standard or even top it.

"At the emotional level, there's all this pressure. I feel like the world is looking at us… The [score at the] final whistle you can't always control. Football is like that."

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment