Will Neymar play at 2026 World Cup? Brazil star addresses retirement rumours & admits Lionel Messi has inspired him to keep dream alive
- Forward hinted 2022 finals would be his last
- Saw PSG team-mate go on to life the trophy
- One goal short of beating Pele's all-time record
WHAT HAPPENED? The 31-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward had suggested prior to the 2022 finals in Qatar that he was preparing to bid farewell to FIFA’s flagship event. Neymar was, however, to suffer more heartache in the Middle East – as Brazil lost to Croatia at the quarter-final stage – and he could now add to his haul of 124 caps by playing on through to the next global gathering that will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
WHAT THEY SAID: Neymar has told TNT Sports: “I'll go year by year and we'll see. Of course, I have a very big dream, that of winning the World Cup.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Neymar has represented his country at the 2014, 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but is still waiting on a winners’ medal. He saw PSG team-mate Messi end his long wait for global glory in Qatar, with Argentina’s success proving that patience can be rewarded. Neymar added: “Leo has always been an inspiration. He always helped and encouraged me. Obviously, seeing him win at 35, I think about it too.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Neymar made his senior debut for Brazil in 2010 and needs just one more goal, with 77 to his name at present, in order to overtake the legendary Pele as the Selecao’s all-time leading scorer.