Rio de Janeiro - With less than ten weeks to the World Cup on home soil, Brazil star Neymar has admitted to butterflies in his stomach.
“I think it is an honour to wear the Brazil shirt in my country and to see my greatest childhood dream come true, but the nerves are starting to appear and I've butterflies in my stomach,” Neymar said in an interview published Friday in Lance sports daily.
Brazilian fans are relying on the 22-year-old to help conjure a sixth world title and the Barcelona star insisted that the squad will have the “best possible” preparation as they prepare to face Croatia in their opening match at Sao Paulo on June 12.
“We are going to give our all out there to give Brazil the title,” said Neymar, who will be the second-youngest player to wear the mythical number ten shirt for the Selecao at a World Cup.
Pele famously made the shirt his own as a 17-year-old at the 1958 finals and again in 1962 before another crown in 1970.
Neymar said that “no match will be easy” as Brazil, who lost the final to Uruguay when they last staged the tournament at home back in 1950, take on the Croatians, Mexico and Cameroon in their pool.
“Your opponents always want to win and will give everything against Brazil. We have no preference regarding who we play as we know every match will be difficult. To get to the final will be a dream” regardless of who the team face, Neymar added.
Asked about missing out on a place in the 2010 squad he said:
“It was not my turn (then) to play a World Cup.
“I have always worked for this day Ä unfortunately it didn't happen for me on that occasion. But after that I was lucky enough to be called up to wear the Brazilian colors.
“I think the difference between the Neymar of 2010 and 2014 is that this one is more mature and has gained experience Ä the pleasure of playing remains the same.”