Arsenal legend backs this Brazilian to star at World Cup – not Oscar, not Willian

Neymar Brazil

Martin Keown believes that Brazil international forward Neymar will emerge as the best player at the World Cup.

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has backed Neymar to light up the 2014 World Cup finals in his home country Brazil.

The 22-year-old Barcelona forward has long been heralded as the man to guide Brazil to their sixth World Cup glory, and he will get his chance to fulfil his dream this summer.

Neymar is considered as one of the finest young footballers in the world and has been a much-talked about player for a number of years, despite playing in Europe for just one season.

The striker was the centre of a row over how much Barcelona paid Santos to secure his services last summer, but on the pitch he was moderately successful on a personal level in the 2013-14 season.

The Brazil international scored nine goals and provided as many assists in 26 La Liga matches, while hitting the back of the net four times and laying three assists in 10 Champions League fixtures.

Moreover, one should keep in mind that at Barcelona, Neymar was asked to play wide to accommodate Lionel Messi in a more central role – yet, he scored goals.

It was not exactly the best of seasons for Neymar, but it was not a disappointing one either; and with the World Cup just around the corner, he will carry the hopes of a football-mad nation.

Former Arsenal defender Keown expects Neymar to deliver on the big stage and believes that the bond that the Brazilian players have each other will prove to be a key factor in them winning the World Cup for the sixth time in history.

‘I was in the Brazil camp for the Confederations Cup last summer and was taken aback by the emotional link between the players and the fans’, the 47-year-old told BBC Sport. ‘It is a real force. They have a top quality team too - Neymar will be the tournament's stand-out player. There is lots of pressure on them, but I think they are good enough to deal with it’.

Brazil have been drawn in Group A against Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. On paper, it looks an easy group for the Selecao. However, there will be massive pressure on the Brazilian players to start the campaign on a strong note and go on to win the World Cup. How they react to that pressure remains to be seen.

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