With the U.S. national team getting ready to face Brazil in a friendly in Foxborough, Mass. on Tuesday, a familiar name may not be in the starting lineup for the second game running.
Neymar da Silva Santos Junior. Or, you know, Neymar to you and I.
The Barcelona superstar, 23, was left out of Dunga’s starting lineup for their 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica on Saturday and Brazil’s head coach has once again hinted that his captain and star player may not start against the U.S. on Tuesday as he wants to see what the rest of his squad can do.
In an interview with ESPN Brasil following the Costa Rica win, Neymar revealed his anger about being sat on the bench.
“Being benched is not something I’m used to and I’m not willing to get used to it,” Neymar said. “I want to play and I’m always working to be amongst the starting XI.”
Now, Neymar was obviously asked a loaded question and those pointing towards a bust up with Dunga may well be very ill-informed. However, Neymar could have simply brushed off his position on the subs bench after returning from mumps in recent weeks, but instead he fired almost a warning to the coach that he doesn’t want to spend time on the sidelines when he could be chasing down Pele’s goalscoring record for the five-time World Cup champions.
Neymar’s Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi hardly takes a break for Argentina and unless injury forces him out of a game, he plays 90 minutes for Albiceleste and captains the side. Neymar wants to be Brazil’s talisman too, and although his impressive ratio of 44 international goals in 66 games puts him fifth all-time for the Selecao in scoring, he wants more.
Isn’t that what every coach wants from his players? To be annoyed when they aren’t playing, even if it’s a friendly? We’ll let you decide if Neymar is discreetly throwing his toys out of the pram, or is just a born winner who wants to excel in every single second he gets on the field.