Neymar: Brazil forward expects Qatar 2022 to be his last World Cup | OneFootball
Neymar: Brazil forward expects Qatar 2022 to be his last World Cup
Brazilian superstar Neymar certainly has an impressive collection of honours to his name throughout his career.
Neymar owns winners' medals for five separate domestic league triumphs, as well as his 2015 Champions League win with Barca. For the Selecao, though, the forward has bagged just a couple of tournament victories.
Neymar will no doubt have had his eyes on bigger achievements with his country than the Confederations Cup (2013) and the Olympic football trophy (2016) when he began his career. To date, though, those are the international medals that Neymar can boast.
An ankle injury cruelly ruled Neymar out of Brazil's 2019 Copa America success - and the star hasn't fared much better when it comes to his two World Cup campaigns for his nation.
Injured for their 7-1 mauling in the 2014 semi-final on home soil at the hands of Germany, Neymar couldn't prevent his country from being dumped out in the quarter-finals four years later by Belgium.
Currently unblemished in their qualifying campaign for next year's tournament in Qatar, Neymar will be intent on propelling Brazil to World Cup glory for the first time since 2002.
That, however, might be the last occasion that we see Neymar on international football's biggest stage.
Speaking as part of the new DAZN documentary 'Neymar & The Line Of Kings', the 2021 Ballon d'Or nominee admitted that he is unlikely to play in the 2026 edition of the competition, which will be co-hosted by Mexico and Canada.
"I see it [Qatar 2022] as my last because I don't know if I have the strength of mind to deal with football anymore.
"So I'll do everything to turn up well, do everything to win with my country, to realise my greatest dream since I was little. And I hope I can do it," he revealed.
It's worth bearing in mind that Neymar will be 34 years of age by 2026 - and seems to be suggesting that he is intending to hang up his boots altogether before that point, alluding to the mental toll that competing at the top level has taken on him over the years.
The ultimate Neymar quiz
1 of 20
Neymar began his professional career at which club?
Corinthians Internacional Santos Flamengo
Shouldering the hopes of an entire nation - especially one as football-crazed as Brazil - can't be an easy task and it's not hard to appreciate why Neymar might be keen to escape that pressure.
Ultimately, his final decision could well be influenced by the performance of Brazil at next year's tournament. If Tite's side go on to lift international football's biggest prize, then it may prove to be the ideal send-off for their star player.
It's also worth remembering that Neymar's close pal Lionel Messi himself closed the door on his own career with his native Argentina, before being convinced to stay on. Of course, this summer Messi landed his first major silverware with his country (at the age of 34) after defeating Neymar's Brazil in the Copa America final.
It remains to be seen how long Neymar will actually continue to play for, but the message coming out of this interview suggests we should appreciate his talents while he is still around.