Sochi, June 25: Is Neymar cracking up with the pressure?
That is the question being asked on the fringes of the Brazil camp as football’s most expensive player struggles to get to grips with the World Cup and the expectation on him.
His tears at the final whistle after scoring in the 2-0 win over Costa Rica won him few friends in the Brazilian media.
Instead they were asking what on earth was he reacting like this for after the second game of the tournament. Final, yes, but a win over Costa Rica?
Brazil’s biggest newspaper O Globo’s main headline read: “It’s not normal to cry in the second game of a World Cup.”
The same publication suggested it reflected a mental weakness in the team and was either a “return of Neymar’s narcissism” or a sign of “troubling instability”.
Of course we have been here before when Ronaldo cracked up the night before the 1998 World Cup and looked in a trance as France ran out 3-0 winners.
That was all down to the huge expectation that now weighs heavily on Neymar’s shoulders with their qualification for the next phase of Russia 2018 still not guaranteed.
Neymar himself has reacted to the criticism he has been receiving by tweeting: “Not everyone knows what I went through to get here. Talk is cheap, now it’s time to act.
“In my life, things have never been easy and won’t be now! The dream, no not the dream – the objective! – continues.”
It’s not just Neymar’s performance that has brought criticism but the weird haircut he sported for the first game which looked like someone had spilt a bowl of spaghetti on his head.
Lose to Serbia on Wednesday and Switzerland get at least a point against Costa Rica and he will need a full disguise never mind a new haircut.
Brazil will be out at the group stage and that will not go down well back home. (Agencies)