2022 World Cup: Neymar hints at Brazil retirement as head coach Tite steps down
Neymar said he “cannot 100% guarantee” he will continue playing for Brazil after their World Cup exit, while coach Tite confirmed he will step down.
The favourites went out at the quarter-final stage for the second World Cup running, losing on penalties to 2018 runners-up Croatia after a 1-1 draw.
Tite, 61, says he “goes in peace” after six years as Brazil manager.
But Neymar, 30, will take stock before confirming his decision, adding: “I need to think a bit more about this.”
The Paris St-Germain forward equalled Pele’s ‘official’ goalscoring record of 77 in 124 appearances for the Brazil men’s national team after firing them into the lead against Croatia in extra time.
But Bruno Petkovic’s 117th-minute equaliser and Brazil’s subsequent 4-2 defeat on penalties left the former Barcelona player with a decision to make.
“I am not closing any doors on the national team but I am also not guaranteeing 100% that I will return,” said Neymar, who made his international debut aged 18.
“I need to think a bit more about this, about what is the right thing for me and for the national team.”
Neymar played in three World Cups for the Selecao, helping them reach the semi-finals in his home country in 2014 before missing the 7-1 humiliation at the hands of Germany in the last four through injury.
“It is an awful feeling. I think this is a worse feeling than what happened at the last World Cup,” said Neymar, referring to Brazil’s 2-1 quarter-final defeat by Belgium at Russia 2018.
“It is difficult to find the words to describe this moment. We fought and I am proud of my team-mates, proud of the character they showed to step up and take penalties.”
‘I go in peace’
Tite left no room for a possible return as Brazil coach.
He said before the tournament he would stand down regardless of his side’s performance.
“It is a painful defeat but I go in peace. It is the end of a cycle,” said the former Corinthians boss.
“I already said that a year and a half ago. I didn’t come here to win and then turn around and say I was going to stay. People who know me know that.”
He took on the role in 2016 and won the Copa America in 2019, but was unable to guide Brazil past the last-eight stage in two World Cups.
“It is very difficult,” added Tite, who won 61 of his 81 games in charge of Brazil, losing seven.
“I said I needed to have the full cycle and now I have the full cycle and have followed the moments.”
Asked whether he had left a legacy, he said: “Time will answer that. I am not in a position now to evaluate all the work we have done, but as time goes by you will be able to make that assessment.
“I don’t have the capacity to do that now after we have been eliminated.”