The pain of defeat often stings much harder than the joy of victory soothes, and no one knows this better than Brazilian football sensation Neymar. The star forward admitted to having "cried for five days straight" following Brazil's 2022 World Cup exit, a startling confession that shines light on the emotional toll taken by the quarterfinal loss to Croatia.
The intensity of the experience was such that Neymar considered hanging up his international boots, an insight he shared with YouTube personality Casimiro. "I can't tell you what went through my head," Neymar confessed. "It was the most painful defeat of my career, for sure.
I cried for five straight days. It hurt me a lot that my dream had turned to nothing." Fate had dealt a cruel hand, Neymar suggested, adding that he'd rather have not scored than to experience the bitter disappointment of Croatia equalising before going on to win on penalties.
"It's a pain that only the players and staff can understand," he lamented. The atmosphere within the team post-match was somber, likened to a funeral by the renowned footballer. He recounted, "It was the worst moment of my life.
It felt like a funeral, someone crying on one side of you, someone else crying on the other."
Back From the Brink
In a turning point, Neymar revealed to CazeTV that he had contemplated international retirement after the crushing defeat.
But a shift in mindset now sees him focused on facing the battle again in 2026, determined not to let the past cloud his future. "After the  World Cup, I honestly didn't want to [return to the Brazil national team]," he said.
But resilience appears to be Neymar's middle name, and his fighting spirit shone through when he declared, "But I've changed my mind. Because I'm very hungry, right? I changed my mind." Neymar is keenly aware of the emotional stress his career has inflicted on his family. "After the World Cup, I didn't want to go through the pain of losing again.
Seeing my family suffering a lot, that weighs heavily on me." But despite these challenges, he resolved to move forward with renewed determination, adding, "But they will have to put up with it again. It will be good. It has to be." Neymar's journey, from the depths of despair to a revitalised determination, provides a poignant reminder of the intense emotional roller coaster that professional sport can be, and the unwavering resilience it demands from those at its pinnacle.
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