Neymar on the verge of history

The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup has given
Brazil fans the opportunity to enjoy what
Santos supporters have savoured over the
last few years, and Barcelona fans will soon
enjoy: the heightened sense of anticipation
that comes with watching Neymar getting on
the ball.
The star had the Seleção fans on their feet as
early as the third minute of Brazil's opening
match against Japan, thumping the ball into
the top corner from just outside the box.
And he had them drooling again towards the
end of the meeting with Mexico, when he
somehow worked some space in the tightest
of situations to lay on a classy assist for
strike partner Jo.
In the build-up to Sunday's final against
Spain at the Maracana, however, it is the
Brazil ace's turn to feel the anticipation, as
he prepares for quite possibly the most
important game of his young career, one in
which he will be under pressure yet again to
"It's a big final and it's got all the makings
of a historic match. We're aware of that," he
told . "We hope to be able to write
our name in the football history books,
especially with the game taking place at the
The 21-year-old is sure to feel the pressure
until the moment he steps out at the
legendary stadium to face his Spanish idols,
the team who have set the standard in
modern football. Let no one be under the
impression, however, that Neymar is in any
way nervous about being in the spotlight.
Increasingly at ease with the growing media
attention he generates, Neymar could not
have been more relaxed as he spoke to the
assembled press. He told reporters that he
turned to team-mate Thiago Silva after
Spain's gruelling semi-final shootout win over
Italy on Thursday and said he wished the
final was being played on Friday and not
Sunday. "We have to wait though, don't we?"
he joked.
Players go through a whole gamut of
emotions in the build-up to any final, and
Brazil's main man has been through a few of
them with Santos and knows what such
occasions demand. Yet this is no ordinary
final, not when it's being played at the
Maracana, with him wearing Brazil's feted
No10 shirt, and with one of his favourite
teams providing the opposition, a team he
has selected and won with many times on the
video game console.
"The whole world was expecting a Brazil-
Spain final, us included," he said,
anticipating Sunday's blockbuster. "We're
going to play against the best in the world,
the best team in the world."
He added that La Roja deserved to be
considered favourites for the final, in
recognition of their status as the reigning
world and two-time European champions, a
statement he qualified by saying, "We need
to show respect, but we also need to impose
ourselves on the pitch. Spain have brought
their star players, and Brazil have brought
theirs too."

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