Coach brands Neymar ‘monster’ as Brazil eye football gold

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 18 (IANS) Brazil coach Rogerio Micale described Neymar as a “monster” after the Barcelona forward helped the hosts secure a berth in the Olympic football final.

Neymar scored twice as Brazil routed Honduras 6-0 in their semifinal in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

“He is a beast. Neymar is a guy that has a football gift,” Micale said. “He is happy playing with this group. They have embraced him. There has been a lot of pressure on him, but he is not your average player.”

New Manchester City signing Gabriel Jesus also scored a brace while Marquinhos and Luan added a goal apiece.

One of three players over the age of 23 in Micale’s squad, Neymar is seen as key to Brazil’s hopes of winning the only major football trophy to so far elude them.

After beginning the Olympic tournament with two goalless draws, Brazil have won their past three matches by an aggregate of 12 goals.

But the hosts are not getting ahead of themselves, a fact underlined by Neymar’s refusal to speak to reporters after Wednesday’s match.

“We know the pressure we are under,” Micale said. “We are only thinking about working as hard as we have been until now so that we can win the gold medal.

“We are not going to lack energy or fight. We are going to sweat and give all that we’ve got. We have quality but we also have determination.”

Brazil were due to play the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal between Nigeria and Germany in Sunday’s final at the Maracana Stadium.

–IANS

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