When the FIFA Confederations Cup kicks off tomorrow with Brazil against Japan in Brasilia, all eyes will be on former Santos star Neymar, who completed a blockbuster move to Barcelona only a few weeks ago. Neymar became an international superstar while playing at Santos, yet the 21-year-old has yet to live up to expectations when playing for Brazil. He admits that playing for the national team is more difficult.
"It's obvious that in the Selecao I can't be the same type of player that I was at Santos,'' Neymar told reporters on Thursday. "I'm playing the same way as I always play, I didn't change that at all. But it's more difficult to play in the national team than it was with Santos. I had more space there, that doesn't happen against other national teams.'' He added that he also has more defensive responsibilities with Brazil.
The Confederations Cup will be Neymar’s third significant tournament with Brazil, after the 2011 Copa America and 2012 London Olympics. Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Copa America on penalties by Paraguay and then finished second at the Olympics, losing in the final to Mexico. "This will be one of the most important tournaments of my career and I want to do well,'' Neymar said. "We want to win the title now and then succeed in the World Cup next year too.''
Neymar has 20 goals in 34 appearances for Brazil, but he has not scored in his last nine games in all competitions.