Neymar relishing added responsibility after being named Brazil captain

Neymar believes the responsibility of leading Brazil will be good for him after the Paris Saint-Germain star was appointed captain.

Head coach Tite scrapped his captaincy rotation by naming Neymar as Brazil’s permanent skipper on the eve of Friday’s international friendly against the United States in New Jersey.

Neymar endured a turbulent World Cup campaign in Russia, where Brazil made a shock quarter-final exit against Belgium.

The 26-year-old – who scored twice at the showpiece tournament after recovering from a broken foot sustained in February – was a regular target of criticism for his theatrics and behaviour on the pitch, having exaggerated fouls.

Fronting the media alongside Tite after he received the captain’s armband, Neymar told reporters: “I accepted again because I’ve learned a lot and I will learn much more. And this responsibility will be a good thing to me.”

Reflecting on his difficult World Cup campaign, Neymar said: “I think that probably no one here in this room will ever live something close that I’ve lived not even during the Olympics, but after the World Cup as well.

“I was targeted by many critics, a lot of bad things and I wasn’t OK at that very moment [after the game against Belgium] to speak. So when I’m not OK to speak I prefer to stay shut because the silence is the best answer.”

On his critics, Neymar added: “I don’t have much to say about it. I’m a player who takes the ball 11 times and in 10 times I go straight to the opponent.

“I think they won’t let me pass without giving me a little strike. I can’t ask them ‘hey, excuse me but let me score’. I suffered lots of fouls during the World Cup. But it happened. It’s another lesson I carry with me.”

“My responsibility is even bigger due to the captaincy but if you don’t play [good] football there’s no need of it,” Neymar continued when asked how he could silence his critics.

“I want to apologise to the supporters which got mad with us because losing is a very bad thing. We believed we could [be world champions] but it wasn’t possible.”

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