Brazil coach warns Neymar could retire

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Lionel Messi surprised most of us by announcing his retirement from international duty after losing a second consecutive Copa America final to Chile earlier this summer.

The pressure and weight of expectation wore the Argentine down until he could take no more.

His Barcelona teammate Neymar, has had to handle a similar level of stress by being the poster boy for both the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro.

And his coach has warned the superstar could follow the same path as Messi if he continues to be disrespected by the Brazilian supporters.

Brazil may have progressed into the last eight of the Olympic tournament with a 4-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday but the two unconvincing goalless draws which preceded that victory prompted a lot of heavy criticism directed towards their captain.

Just like the World Cup two years ago, Brazil are big favourites to win the competition in their own back yard and the Selecao's dedicated fanbase are not keen to see a repeat of the 7-1 humiliation to Germany in 2014 which dumped them out at the semi-final stage.

Neymar bore the brunt of the negative analysis after the hosts' first two matches for not having enough of an influence in games and was jeered during their last fixture against Denmark.

The Brazil fans were also shouting the name of the women's captain, Marta, who by contrast, has thrived under the pressure of leading the nation.

But Rogerio Micale, manager of Brazil's Under-23 side, doesn't think anything positive can come from the supporters' current jibes towards Neymar.

“Marta and Neymar are two great Brazilian players. Neymar will one day become the best player in the world and we need to respect him. If we don’t respect our best players they might not want to be with us anymore,” Micale said.

“Neymar is just 24 and hasn’t fully matured. Generally, a player reaches his peak at 28, both physically and mentally, and he has had to deal with the pressure of being a leader since he was 17.”

There has been no suggestion that Neymar is currently considering his international future but after seeing his close teammate at domestic level make the tough decision, the 24-year-old has got the perfect man to ask for advice on the subject.

From Barcelona's perspective, having two of their best players make themselves unavailable for international selection while they are still at the peak of their powers will only benefit them in the long-term.

Various injuries to Neymar and Messi last season was thought to be behind the side's drop of form after Christmas. While they were able to hold on to the La Liga title, prematurely exiting the Champions League at the quarter-finals left many supporters wondering what might have been if their 'MSN' frontline had stayed fit.

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La Liga
World Cup
Lionel Messi
Brazil Football

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