Neymar Jr’s father gave an exclusive interview to Sport ahead of the Club World Cup in Japan. Taking advantage of the first anniversary of the Neymar Jr Institute Project in Praia Grande, Neymar’s dad spoke to us before heading to Japan to accompany his son. Neymar is injured and it is unknown if he will feature in the tournament.
Will Neymar play against Filipe Scolari’s team on Thursday?
“No, he will definitely not play. If he plays, it will be in the final. We have a recovery time of a week, 10 days, and we will hope that it takes this time. We cannot think only of the Club World Cup title, but that the people are calm that Neymar will be ready to play in the final. I’m sure of that.”
You, Luis Enrique, the technical team, have to put the breaks on?
“I’ve spoken a lot with him in these days. He has to stay calm. Thanks to god it was a little thing, it was a light injury, but it’s still an injury. For the importance that Neymar has, we have to be careful and not take risks.”
It was a tiny rupture?
“It was only 1.8cm. He needed a rest so the area would be totally cured.”
Neymar’s personal team, his physiotherapist, Rafael Martini, has traveled with him to Japan?
“Yes, he’s gone together with Ney. FC Barcelona asked us if he could help at this time and yes, he’s gone to Japan.”
Could he start on Sunday, in a hypothetical final, or would it be like Messi at the Bernabeu?
“He’ll play, though it will be five minutes (smiling). He wants to be champion, and mainly, that Barcelona win. And evidently if he can be on the pitch, much better for everyone.”
This is the first muscular injury Neymar has suffered since his debut as a professional in March 2009…
“Yes, it’s the first. The first matches that he has missed as a result of muscular issues are the last two, against Bayer Leverkusen and Deportivo de la Coruna.”
Is it difficult considering he has no previous reference point and to know how far he can force it?
“It was not an injury because of fatigue. Physically he’s well balanced. It was an injury from a lack of experience. Wek now that it could have been because of the temperature. When he started training in Leverkusen it was very cold and maybe he didn’t warm up enough. Sometimes there’s nobody around to inform him in those type of situations. What happened was an accident, not a consequence of playing too many games. Thanks to god, Neymar is in one of the best moments of his career.”
Why did Neymar, as SPORT said, get injured doing a sombrero trick on Suarez?
“It was a move, as if it were a game. These things happen in the world of football and always in moments of jokes, in a moment that one decides to be a goalkeeper, or do something in that moment you are not prepared to make that motion.”
Are you proud for the first year of the Neymar Jr Institute Project?
“It’s a pride, for all the family. Neymar with his sister Rafaella and the rest of the family living in this neighbourhood. We know the situation well in this environment. Thanks to the Neymar Institute today I can say I have more than 3,000 children.”