Neymar wants Brazil to win their first ever Olympics Gold
Neymar has expressed his strong desire to win the Olympic Gold for Brazil, as it is the only FIFA prize missing in their trophy cabinet, which has ever eluded the “land of football”. Neymar led Brazil at the 2012 London Olympics where they reached the final only to lose out to Mexico. However, he is keen to seize the moment this time at the Rio Olympics 2016 and win it on their home turf.
The football games will be conducted from the 3-20 August with the final to be held in Rio de Janeiro at the Maracana.
Speaking to Brazilian television, Neymar said, "I know that this gold medal has eluded Brazil so far, and we will do everything to try to win it. It's rare that a country like Brazil, considered the land of football, still hasn't won this gold."
On paper, Brazil are placed comfortably in a group involving South Africa, Iraq and Denmark with the hosts set to play their first match against South Africa in Brasilia on 4th Aug. The draw suggests they could be facing Colombia or Nigeria in the quarters.
In Olympics football, the men’s tournament is an U-23 event, with three over-age players allowed in the squad. Neymar, alongside Douglas Costa of Bayern Munich and Fernando Prass of Palmeiras, form the roster of experienced players. Amongst others, the key players in the team are Barcelona team-mate Rafinha, Willian of Internacional and Marquinhos of Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar sees this medal as a target that rhymes on an emotional level and took pains to ensure his idea manifests. He sacrificed the chance to play for Brazil at Centenario Copa America so that he could play at the Olympics. “Barca didn’t want me to play both competitions. Sometimes you have friction with your club, but with Barcelona it all ended well. They let me pick which championship, and I opted for the Olympics,” said the forward, who is set to be the captain of the side.
On asked if he wasn’t happy with the club’s demand, he said, “I was not frustrated, because I will play a tournament my country has yet to win, and in Brazil. Of course, I wanted to compete in both competitions, but I understand the desire of my club and I respected the agreement that everyone came to.”
The Olympics Gold means a lot to Neymar for more than one reason, since he believes that the Brazilians need this to overcome the memory of the most disgraceful day in Brazil’s football history, when they lost 7-1 to Germany at the World Cup semifinals in Bela Horizonte in 2014.
Not being able to avert that disaster due to injury in the quarters against Colombia, Neymar told Globo Esporte, “I am ready to take responsibility. It's a unique opportunity. Not only for me, but for everyone in the team. We know how important this medal is.”
Before 2012, Brazil were runners-up in 1984 and 1988 while they won the Bronze twice in 1996 and 2008.