sport

Neymar unfazed by pressure

Neymar claims to be embracing the pressure placed on his shoulders as he attempts to fire Brazil to World Cup glory.

As the poster boy of Brazilian football, Neymar is expected to shine on home soil this summer and deliver a sixth global crown.

The weight of a nation would weigh heavy on some, forcing them to buckle and underperform in the brightest of spotlights.

Neymar, though, has grown accustomed to being the centre of attention and the Barcelona forward says he will not be letting anything distract him from the ultimate goal.

He said in the Daily Express: "It's been a dream since I was young, and today it's right before me: I'm Brazil's No 10, I'm going to play the World Cup, in my own country.

"I can't see that as pressure. It has to give me pride and happiness to take on to the pitch.

"Everyone says winning the World Cup is an indescribable joy, so I'm dying to feel that myself. I can't wait to shout: 'We're champions'.

"People say, 'You're under pressure, being the big game in the squad'. But I'm not under pressure. I'm happy.

"I've always done things my way. Since I was 13 the media have been saying I'd be the new Robinho. I'm someone who doesn't really worry.

"If you don't tell me that I'm Neymar and that I play for Barcelona and Brazil, I'll forget it. People imagine me as they see me on television, but I am completely different because I don't feel pressure about anything."

Neymar is feeling relaxed as he believes Brazil have assembled the best possible unit to take on the world, with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari a major part of their plans having landed football's biggest prize back in 2002.

"The coach talks about 2002 a lot. He says that the World Cup is the toughest tournament," added Neymar.

"There's no room for error, you must be at full speed from the start. It's a short tournament where your margin for error is smaller than other matches.

"And he talks about the pleasure of winning, how good it feels. He's certainly going to help us win another one.

"The World Cup has always been my goal in life. It's funny that today it's nearly come true. To win the World Cup is what I want more than anything."