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Neymar international retirement: Will the next World Cup be his last?

Rumours have sparked regarding Neymar’s retirement from international football recently. The reason for this is due to Neymar’s comments in a recent interview. According to an interview he gave recently, he dropped strong hints that the next World Cup will be his last. He was even quoted as saying that he ‘doesn’t have the strength’ for football anymore, at least on an international level. It’s no great secret that he has had his fair share of injuries throughout his career too, especially recently.

But some speculate that given the fact he has never won the World Cup will spur him on to another one. Regardless, we have looked at the facts and given our opinion on whether Qatar 2022 will be Neymar’s last below.

Is Neymar really hanging up his boots for international football?

There are a few critical factors that have led us towards our decision regarding Neymar’s retirement from the international stage. Each factor is broken down for you right here:

Words from his own mouth

When you hear reports of a possible retirement from a player’s own mouth, it’s hard to ignore. The way he was talking about the event really made it seem like his last hoorah too. He was saying things like he doesn’t have the energy, how he thinks it will be his last, and how he wants to put in one last huge effort to win it. These are certainly indications that he is seriously considering finishing his international career next year. 

Then again, as we all know, players sometimes make comments they don’t mean. It all depends on their state of mind when the interview was given. Neymar is notoriously quite emotional too, and he certainly wears his heart on his sleeve. Maybe he was just having a bad day, or maybe he really does feel this way? Either way, we cannot ignore that he has strongly hinted at his intentions following the conclusion of Qatar 2022.

Persistent injuries

Neymar has been phenomenal at many clubs during his career. He was incredible during his days at Barcelona, awesome for Santos back in Brazil, and he’s been decent for PSG too. With this said, he seems to have lost a bit of his spark since moving to PSG back in 2017. All you need to look at is his goalscoring record since joining the club to see that he has declined. In his first season, he scored 28 goals, then 23, then 19, and so on. But perhaps most significantly, the number of appearances has drastically declined since Barcelona.

The maximum number of appearances he has had at PSG in a single season is 31. At Barcelona, his lowest was 41! That’s incredibly significant, and a major reason for this is injuries. As players age, of course, injuries are picked up with greater ease. But Neymar certainly seems to have had more than his fair share. He has experienced foot injuries, ankle injuries, hamstring injuries, and others in recent years. 

This has obviously impacted how much he is able to enjoy the game, as well as his motivation to play in general. 

The stage of his career

Neymar isn’t a young pup anymore. He is 29 years of age, and he is certainly entering the twilight of his career. From a domestic point of view, sure, he will have many seasons left in him. But from the perspective of the World Cup, which is played once every four years, this isn’t promised. When he plays in Qatar 2022, he will be 30 years old. So if he is to compete in the next World Cup, he will be 34 years of age. One has to speculate on whether he will still be as good at 34 as he is now too.

We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that he will be great forever. 

Final thoughts

Due to the points discussed above, we really do feel that Qatar 2022 will be Neymar’s last World Cup. We have no doubts that he will try his heart out in the competition, but all signs point to this being his final World Cup. He also doesn’t seem to have the same passion or love for the game as other guys like Cristiano Ronaldo. This in itself would suggest that his career won’t be as extensive as others, although of course, nothing is guaranteed. 

Regardless of his decision, we have to admit that he has been amazing for the sport of football. And he is definitely one of the greatest talents we’ve witnessed in recent years!

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