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Neymar

Kaka names Neymar his favourite player & insists 'pressure will be off' Brazil star at World Cup

6:09 PM GMT+4 25/09/2022
Neymar Brazil 2022
Brazil legend Kaka has named Neymar his favourite player in the modern game while insisting the "pressure will be off" him at the World Cup in Qatar.
  • Kaka puts Neymar ahead of Messi & Ronaldo
  • Praises 'phenomenal' Rodrygo
  • Hopes Real Madrid star makes World Cup

WHAT HAPPENED? Kaka had no hesitation in choosing Neymar when asked to pick out his favourite player during an interview with Spanish outlet Marca. The Paris Saint-Germain star carried the expectations of an entire nation on his shoulders at the last World Cup in 2018, but his compatriot says he won't have to deal with that burden in Qatar due to the presence of a fresh crop of talent currently blossoming under Tite - which includes Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I don't know if it's because we have a great personal relationship but I love how Neymar plays," Kaka said. "Of course I like to see others like [Kylian] Mbappe, [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano [Ronaldo] or Vinicius himself but I'll stick with 'Ney'."

The former Brazil and Madrid playmaker added on Neymar's role in the upcoming World Cup: "Neymar is going to be the leader of Brazil in Qatar 2022 but it is very important that he has players like Vinicius at his side. In the 2018 World Cup, 'Ney' was the absolute protagonist but now we have 'Vini', Raphinha, Richarlison, Antony... who are not young promises but realities. This takes some pressure off Neymar, something that is very favourable for our interests."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Kaka also revealed how much he admires Vinicius' Madrid and Brazil team-mate Rodrygo, and thinks the 21-year-old is a must for Tite in Qatar.

"Well, he's phenomenal. There is still discussion in Brazil if he should go to the World Cup and I am clear that he has to be on the list," he said of Rodrygo. "I myself went to a World Cup when I was 20 years old and had not yet left Brazil while he is already a star at Real Madrid. It is also an experience that will come in handy for his professional growth."

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Neymar has been involved in 21 goals in just 12 games this season. The Brazilian has 11 goals and 10 assists in all competitions for club and country.

WHAT NEXT FOR BRAZIL? Tite's side take on Tunisia in an international friendly at PSG's Parc des Princes Stadium on Tuesday.