After playing the hero during Brazil’s run to the 2014 World Cup semifinals on home soil, Neymar is ready to do the same again in 2016 when Rio hosts the Olympic games.
[ VIDEO: Neymar scores twice for Brazil ]
Neymar, 22, has spoken about his desire to represent his home nation once again in the Olympic games, despite risking the wrath of his club side Barcelona as Brazil will also take part in the 2016 Copa America hosted by the United States.
With over a year to sort those logistics out between the back-to-back tournaments, Neymar is focused about trying to win a gold medal for his nation as it is the only major honor the Selecao have yet to claim during their illustrious history.
“I think we can learn from everything and if Brazil has still not won this football gold medal that we’re all dreaming of, it’s because our time is yet to come,” Neymar told Rio 2016.com. “I hope to be part of this group and win the title for the Brazilian people, especially since we’re playing at home. Winning at the Maracana would be incredible, unforgettable, and you can be sure we’ll give our best on the pitch to make this happen.”
Neymar scored four goals for Brazil during last summer’s World Cup but his tournament was ended in the quarterfinal stage after he broke two vertebrae in his back following a challenge from Colombia’s Camilo Zuniga.
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He is hoping for a better outcome on home soil next summer, after Brazil lost the Gold medal game during the London 2012 Olympics to Mexico. Neymar, who has already starred during the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup on home soil, is eager to do it once again and help inspire a nation.
“Wearing the Brazilian shirt is indescribable and every time I wear our colors it’s a memorable occasion for me,” Neymar said. “This was especially so in London, where I first competed in the Games. It was something that really made a big impression on me and that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I already imagine myself playing in the Olympic Games in my own country – it will be a dream come true.”
The Brazilian superstar has scored 19 goals in 24 games for Barca this season but after being named captain of the full national team by Dunga in 2014 he will play a leading role for the Brazilian national team in the coming years.
Should Neymar be focused on winning the Olympic gold or the Copa America in 2016? And will he be burned out when he returns to Barcelona for the 2016-17 season?