Neymar has been labelled “one of the greatest in history” by Brazil coach Fernando Diniz, who won’t “give up” on the under-fire Al-Hilal superstar.
- Neymar was criticised after Venezuela draw
- Was hit by a popcorn from the stands
- Diniz stands firmly behind Neymar
WHAT HAPPENED? The Al-Hilal forward faced the wrath of Brazil fans following a 1-1 draw with Venezuela in their last 2026 World Cup qualification outing, despite providing the assist to Gabriel Magalhaes’ goal. He was even hit with a box of popcorn by a disgruntled fan and the 31-year-old had to be dragged down the tunnel as he started shouting towards the supposed offender. There had also been allegations that Neymar, along with Vinicius Junior and Richarlison, partied with influencers before taking to the pitch. However, Diniz has leapt to the defence of Neymar and vowed to bring out the best from his talismanic forward.
WHAT THEY SAID: “No coach in the world would give up on Neymar with the hunger he has and the desire he has,” Diniz told reporters. “Again, [against Venezuela] he was decisive, he provided an assist. I already said that Neymar is one of the greatest players in the history of Brazilian football and world football.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Neymar is currently the highest goalscorer in Brazil’s international history after he surpassed Pele in September with 79 strikes to his name from 125 international appearances. Diniz alluded to these impressive figures while further explaining the former Paris Saint-Germain striker’s greatness.
“One thing worth mentioning is Neymar’s numbers, he is first in almost all important aspects for a striker,” Diniz said. “First in goals, assists, goal participation, dribbling, first in a score on the specialised website… the numbers explain why he is here.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? After a lacklustre performance against Venezuela, Neymar will have a chance to redeem himself when Brazil take on Uruguay on Tuesday in another World Cup qualifier.