According to former Paris Saint-Germain player Mohamed Sissoko, Neymar is ready to lead Brazil to World Cup victory in Qatar.
Neymar’s stats so far this season
Sissoko thinks Neymar, 30, has shown the drive to carry this form into the World Cup, which gets underway on Sunday. Neymar has had a strong start to the season with PSG, tallying 26 goal involvements (15 goals, 11 assists) in 20 games so far.
Sissoko, in an interview with Stats Perform, predicted that the Selecao would win the competition, naming Neymar as one of the key factors.
“[I think] Brazil [will win], because they have a strong team and good spirit and I think they have a big chance of winning this World Cup,” he said.”I know [Neymar is] going to be on fire this year because when you’re on holiday and you decide to come back one week before you start, it is because you have good motivation. It is because you have the World Cup, so he wants to show all the Brazilian people he’s a big player and he wants to bring back the World Cup to Brazil.”
Before retiring in 2019, Sissoko, who previously played for Liverpool and Juventus among other teams, named three additional players, including two more Brazilians, that he believes will succeed in the World Cup.
“[Aurelien] Tchouameni [of France] is a very good player,” Sissoko said. “Vinicius [Junior] is going to be on fire, also Raphinha from Barcelona. I think they have good motivation to do something very good at the World Cup,” he added.
In his international playing career, Sissoko represented Mali, and he named Morocco as one of the African sides to watch in Qatar.
Morocco recently hired French-born Walid Regragui as their head coach. They will be in Group F with Belgium, Croatia, and Canada.
Sissoko’s comment on African nations competing in Qatar
“They have a good team. Not one of the best,” Sissoko said. “But I think this new manager, I know him very [well]. He knows French culture, and also Moroccan culture. So I think Morocco has a good team to go far.”
Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, Tunisia, and Morocco will be among the five African nations competing in Qatar, and Sissoko feels they can leave an impact even if winning the competition may be beyond their reach.
“I don’t know [if an African team can win the World Cup] because of big talent and big teams like Brazil, Argentina, England, and France. It is not easy to compete with them at this moment, but I think they have the quality to go to the quarter-finals,” he said.
“For me, Senegal is in progress… Senegal I think is the team with more progress because they bring a lot of foreign players. You know they have good players like [Kalidou] Koulibaly, like [Sadio] Mane, and now they’re starting to bring in a young player like [Ismail] Jakobs from Monaco.”This is very important to have a strong team, a strong group. So I think Senegal also have the power to go to the quarter-finals.”