Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Neymar acknowledged on Sunday that he was “not yet at 100 percent” after surgery on his fractured right foot, but the Brazil forward said he was ready to play for his country at the World Cup.
“I’m not yet at 100 percent. That will come with time. I’m still a bit scared of going all out, but there are still several days before our start,” the Paris Saint-Germain star told reporters at Brazilian football headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s going to take a bit more time for this fear to go away, but I’m ready to play. Nothing can stop me from doing so,” Neymar added, hours before a planned flight to London where the team will continue their World Cup preparations.
The world’s most expensive player hasn’t played since hurting himself in a French league game against Marseille on February 25, but Neymar has been training for the past 10 days and took part in a national team preparation camp this week in Teresopolis.
“I feel good physically. My foot is fine. Of course I have to adjust to certain things. I’m feeling a bit of discomfort but it’s not going to stop me from playing,” he said.
The 26-year-old also reflected on what was a frustrating 2014 World Cup experience on home soil, as a back injury ruled him out of Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals.
“It’s a dream to play in another World Cup, a dream which I hope won’t be interrupted again,” he said.
Brazil will play two warm-up matches before travelling to Russia, with a friendly against Croatia at Anfield on June 3 before a trip to Vienna to face Austria on June 10.
The five-time world champions play their opening match in Group E against Switzerland on June 17 in Rostov-on-Don. Brazil then face Costa Rica on June 22 in Saint Petersburg and Serbia in Moscow on June 27.