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Exclusive – Richarlison defends his ‘idol’ Neymar ahead of 2022 World Cup – ‘Like it or not, he is a standout player’

Speaking as part of a new Warner Bros. Discovery series, World at their Feet, Richarlison has told Eurosport that his “idol” Neymar is a standout player, whether people like it or not.

Richarlison is expected to start alongside Neymar for Brazil’s opening World Cup fixture – a Group G encounter against Serbia – after the Tottenham forward was selected to play in Tite’s 26-man Brazil squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The 25-year-old has been picked in an attack-heavy squad that also includes Antony, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Neymar, Pedro, Raphinha, Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr.

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Neymar – who has 75 goals for Brazil – is the reference point for the team and Richarlison spoke of his admiration for the PSG player during an exclusive interview with Eurosport to promote World at their Feet, more details on which you cand find below.

“Neymar is a likeable guy,” said Richarlison.

“He’s someone I admire a lot, a real idol for me. On the pitch, it’s wonderful to play with him because he’s always there to put us in a clear goal situation. I admire him so much.

“Whether you like it or not, Neymar is an ace, a standout player, so we do everything to make him feel good.”

The former America Mineiro, Fluminense, Watford and Everton player also gave insight into the intensity of training for Tite’s Brazil, saying that the team try to ensure that training is slick before adding that they enjoy themselves as much as possible.

“We try as much as possible a well-oiled training, but we are also tempted to have fun so that things go smoothly during matches,” he said.

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Reports emerged that Neymar’s PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe had become frustrated at a perceived lack of intensity in the Brazilian’s application in training.

Richarlison was not addressing those reports directly, but he did reveal that Neymar focuses on taking on the opposition in match-day scenarios.

“Neymar is a more match-oriented player. In a training situation, he’s more relaxed and lighter but when he plays, he likes to challenge the opponents.”

Brazil begin their tournament on November 24 in Group G with a fixture against Serbia. Brazil then face Switzerland on November 28 and Cameroon on December 2.


World at their Feet: Brighton’s Mac Allister on adapting to England, and the World Cup

The World Cup is more than just the game’s greatest players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar going toe-to-toe for one unforgettable month of football. It’s about the stories behind the stories, players who have overcome adversity to represent their country, the stars looking to make their name at football’s showpiece event.

Produced in partnership with the Olympic Channel, Warner Bros. Discovery is releasing World At Their Feet – an 11-episode short-form series available to watch on discovery+* and from Monday 14 November – telling some of the most fascinating stories of some of the players who have starred in previous Olympic Games with almost all of them set to light up this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

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Richarlison (Brazil and Tottenham Hotspur), Sadar Azmoun (Iran and Bayer Leverkusen) and David Raum (Germany and RB Leipzig) are just three of the players to feature – each with their own unique story, each giving a unique insight into their backgrounds, cultures, inspirations, future ambitions and hurdles they have had to overcome to reach the summit of their sport.

The eleven players to feature in the World At Their Feet series are:

  • Richarlison, Brazil and Tottenham Hotspur
  • Alexis Mac Allister, Argentina and Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Kaoru Mitoma, Japan and Brighton Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Chris Wood, New Zealand (did not qualify for Qatar 2022) and Newcastle United
  • Imran Louza, Morocco and Watford
  • Matthias Ginter, Germany and SC Freiburg
  • David Raum, Germany and RB Leipzig
  • Cheikhou Kouyaté, Senegal and Nottingham Forest
  • Unai Simon, Spain and Athletic Bilbao
  • Jan Bednarek, Poland and Aston Villa

World at their Feet: Iran star Sardar Azmoun on why he retired, and coming back

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