A number of Premier League players including Mohamed Salah are on Neymar’s radar ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer.
The 2018 edition of international football’s most prestigious trophy is less than two months away and Neymar is hoping to be fully fit for Brazil’s opening clash against Switzerland on June 17 as he recuperates from a foot surgery.
But other than himself and the usual players to watch in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the 25-year-old expects compatriots Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus to make a difference among some other names who play in Europe.
“There are lots of quality players. It’s the World Cup we’re talking about, only the best in the world,” Neymar said in quotes reported by Globo Esporte via FourFourTwo. “But Coutinho and Jesus are two that can make a difference. I hope they do.”
“Mohamed Salah doesn’t play for a big national team [Egypt], but he can have a good World Cup. There are also other very talented players: Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Luis Suarez,” he added.
Salah is definitely one to look out for as the Egyptian is experiencing a dream season with Liverpool with his remarkable 40 goals and 13 assists in 45 games in all competitions propelling Jurgen Klopp’s men to the semifinals of the Champions League.
Salah also helped his nation qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1990 but Neymar does not expect him or any other player to fare well against the “strongest” Brazil side ever.
“I hope we all can perform well and have a wonderful World Cup, but I expect them not to do so against Brazil,” Neymar added. “I’m glad to be part of a team that, for me, is the strongest right now. We have quality players to win and we’ll try to make it happen.”
Neymar has not played a game since Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 league win over Marseille in February after breaking a bone in his foot. He is expected to have a final medical examination on his foot on May 17 and pending that, he expects to return to training and fulfill his dream of lifting the World Cup with Brazil.
“I’ll have enough time to return for the World Cup and prepare beforehand. It’s not good being injured, but I feel rested,” he recently told reporters. “We have to look at it from the positive angle. I hope I can get there even better than I was.”
“I have some doubts, of course — it’s my first surgery, it’s normal. I’ll get in shape, work as hard as I can. From the moment I can resume training, I’ll dedicate myself even more because the dream is closer, the World Cup. I waited four years for this opportunity and now it’s closer,” he said.
The World Cup takes place in Russia from June 14 to July 15.