Neymar’s World Cup burden will be shared around Brazil team, says Tite

Neymar was Brazil’s top scorer in World Cup qualifying

Brazil manager Tite says Neymar is no longer the country’s sole superstar and that his burden will be shared around at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

Brazil are among the favourites to lift the World Cup on 18 December in Doha, having dominated Conmebol qualifying with 14 wins and 40 goals scored in their 17 matches, conceding only five times.

Neymar was their leading scorer with eight goals, but the 30-year-old gave an interview last year which hinted that he was tired of international football and that this could be his last World Cup.

Tite says he is not worried about Neymar’s workload, however, and says the responsibility for delivering for a demanding nation does not rest squarely on the PSG forward.

“We talk to all the players, including Neymar, about the physical, technical, tactical and mental preparation for decisive games,” Tite told the Guardian. “We pass on insights. Because of Neymar’s greatness, there will always be great expectations, but now it’s diluted. It’s Neymar, but also Vinicius, Raphinha; Thiago [Silva] is at a high level again, Paqueta, Casemiro, Fabinho too.”

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Asked if Neymar was still Brazil’s best player, given the rise of stars like Vinicius Jnr at Real Madrid, Tite replied: “Neymar is Neymar. He remains our biggest star. The difference now is that the glow is diluted by nearby stars that can also shine. Neymar’s greatness is that he understands this – about the growth of these kids. He encourages the boys to go up a level. Time and experience provide this maturity.”

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