Let’s face it, Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior is under more pressure than Lionel Messi heading into the world cup, and here is why.
The criticism against Messi before winning Copa America was that he had not won anything for his national team despite winning the Olympic Gold medal for Argentina in 2008 in Beijing.
The story has changed now. He won the Copa America in grand style helping Argentina to beat Brazil, Argentina’s arch-rival on their turf. He has a Copa America medal hanging alongside an Olympic Gold medal in his trophy room.
Yes, Argentina head into the World cup as one of the favorites but no one will be surprised if they don’t win in Qatar.
Don’t get me wrong, Messi needs the World cup because it is the reason why some still hold a strong opinion that Maradona and Pele had a greater career than him. After all, they won the world cup.
When you take a look at the squads going to the World cup, Argentina isn’t top 3 when we are talking about the strongest squad heading to the tournament.
All Messi and his colleagues need do are to avoid a disastrous tournament as they had at the last World cup in Russia when France kicked them out of the tournament in the round of 16.
Now, to Neymar.
Brazil head into this tournament not only as the favorite (despite losing to Messi’s Argentina in Copa America final) but also with the strongest squad.
Tite’s men boast of at least one World class player in each position, that is how talented the Brazil squad is. You have to go as far back as 2002 to remember the Selecao heading into the World cup with a squad as strong as this.
When you compare the quality Neymar has to play with that of Messi, you will agree with me that the former is under more pressure.
However, playing with the strongest squad is not the major reason why Neymar is under more pressure than his PSG teammates.
The fact that he is yet to win anything substantial for his national side is a stronger reason.
The last time Brazil won a major trophy was in 2019 when they won the Copa America which they did in his absence they could have made it back-to-back Copa America triumphs with Neymar in the side last year but they could not.
All things being equal, Brazil and Argentina will clash yet again in the semifinal, another loss to Argentina will not go down well with Brazilians and will not help Neymar’s case.
Therefore, the fact that Neymar with his Brazilian colleagues heads into the Mundial with the best team and because Neymar is yet to win anything substantial for the Selecao puts him under more pressure than Messi to triumph at the World cup in Qatar.