Neymar has named four other countries alongside Brazil that he considers ‘fully capable’ of reaching the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar next month.
Brazil head into the tournament as one the early favourites, seeking to extend their own record number of World Cup titles to six with a first triumph on the global stage in 20 years.
The Selecao are well equipped to do so, with Neymar at his third World Cup and supported by an uber-talented squad featuring the likes of Alisson, Casemiro, Vinicius Junior and Marquinhos.
But competition is stiff, especially from South American rivals Argentina and Europe’s giants.
“The World Cup is full of surprises. You get teams that unexpectedly get very far even in the competition even if many don’t believe in them,” Neymar told the Telegraph.
“But I believe the favourites are Argentina, Germany, Spain and France. I think those four along with Brazil are fully capable of reaching the final.”
“I really forgot about England but obviously they have a chance! I really like [Harry] Kane and [Jadon] Sancho. They’re two incredible players and I have a special love for them because I like players that have their qualities,” he added, although Sancho was overlooked for the final England squad.
Neymar was on the brink of being included in the Brazil squad for a World Cup as early as 2010. He was just 18 at the time and was already a key player for Santos at club level, but he didn’t get his first senior international chance until after the tournament in South Africa.
He was only an infant when Brazil lifted the World Cup in 1994 and just six years of age in 1998 when Ronaldo inspired the team to the final but suffered a mystery seizure in the hours before kick-off. Neymar’s first real World Cup memories come later in 2002.
“I watched with my dad and family when Brazil won. I was buzzing,” he explained. “That’s my first memory from the World Cup, and properly following it.
“The 1994 World Cup I only watched videos after the fact but I still enjoyed some moments from Romario, who I liked a lot. I have many idols, many references for me. Pele, obviously, Ronaldo, Romario, Kaka, Ronaldinho Gaucho. Those are my favourites.”