Brazil still a force: Neymar

Rio de Janeiro, May 29 (IANS) Neymar, who signed with Barcelona recently, has insisted that Brazil remain a force in world football despite languishing in their lowest ever position in FIFA’s world rankings.

The five-time World Cup champions are yet to win a FIFA-designated international match since the reappointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari as national coach in November last year. They are currently ranked 19th – their worst position since the system was introduced in 1993 – and trail countries like Switzerland (14th), Greece (13th) and Cote d’Ivoire (12th), reports Xinhua.

Neymar Tuesday said Brazil should still be considered among the favourites for next year’s World Cup.

“If we are united we have a chance. The players have great quality and we are still one of the forces in world football,” said Neymar, who signed a five-year deal with Barcelona for a reported 50 million euros Monday.

Brazil will face England in a friendly at the revamped Maracana Stadium Sunday which will be followed by a friendly against France in Porto Alegre June 9. Brazil will then compete in the Confederations Cup from June 15-30.

Neymar revealed he had always felt that playing in a World Cup was part of his destiny.

“Even in my early days at Santos I saw myself playing for the national team in the World Cup. My idol was always Robinho,” he said, adding that Ronaldo and Ronaldinho were also his childhood heroes.

The 21-year-old admitted his departure for Barcelona in July would be tinged with sadness.

“I am very happy about going to Barcelona but at the same time I’m sad to be leaving my city and the club where I grew up, my roots,” he added.

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