Brazil’s Olympic coach Rogerio Micale has warned that the nation could drive Neymar away should they continue to disrespect him.
The coach is convinced the Barcelona star will one day become the best player in the world, but following two frustrating draws in Rio, fans have heaped criticism on the star, even calling for his replacement by women’s side captain Marta.
‘Neymar will become the best player in the world, so we need to respect him more,’ Micale said, reports Goal.
‘He is still young. I know that there have been times when he behaved in a way that we may not like but, at his age, wouldn’t we do the same things that he does, if we had everything he has?’
The coach went on to point out that Marta is rightfully recognised as a sensational player, but that at age 31, she has already matured. Neymar, the coach stressed, is yet to reach the same level of maturity.
‘A player generally peaks at 28, both physically and mentally. Neymar has had to live with the pressure of being a leader since he was 17-years-old,’ Micale added.
‘We need to work hard because we depend only on ourselves for qualification,’ the coach concluded.
Brazil will need a win in their final Group A game at Rio 2016 if they are to ensure their qualification to the knockout phase.
Meanwhile, South Africa will be hopeful Brazil continue to struggle. Owen Da Gama’s side need a win against Iraq, while they must hope Denmark either draw or beat the Brazilians, if they are to progress.
Neymar was on the losing side in the of the London 2012 Olympic final as Brazil went down 2-1 to Mexico.