Speaking on the eve of Saturday’s opening match of the Confederations Cup between Brazil and Japan, Scolari said the newly signed Barcelona striker, while deserving his status alongside football’s elite, was still on a steep learning curve, reports Xinhua.
“He is a 21-year-old player. He is an idol to the Brazilian fans and he is my idol too. He is someone who can dictate the game, he can run, pass, he can get past opponents. But he will become even better when he becomes a team player, but this can take time,” Scolari said.
“Right now I am very pleased with what he has done for the team, he has done everything asked of him but he can and will get better as he gets older and more experienced.”
While Neymar will be the fans’ chief attention grabber during Saturday’s match at the Mane Garrincha Stadium, Brazil are not short of other idols-in-the-making.
Among them is Corinthians midfielder Paulinho, who has reportedly drawn interest from Roma and Tottenham Hotspur. Paulinho has become one of the first men picked by Scolari since he replaced Mano Menezes as national boss in November.
The 24-year-old has mainly been used as a defensive midfielder but showed his attacking quality with a twisting volley goal in Brazil’s 2-2 draw against England June 2.
“Paulinho is free to go forward when the situation is right. But the national team is different to Corinthians. He has to adapt to the players who are around him,” Scolari said.