Brazil winger Willian says there is even more to come from teammate Neymar at the World Cup, as the side gear up for last 16 tie with Chile on Saturday.
Finishing on top of Group A with seven points, Neymar’s braces in the wins against Croatia and Cameroon, respectively, were the clear bright spots for an otherwise underwhelming Brazil side, and Willian believes the rest of the squad must up their game in support of their talisman.
‘I think Neymar hasn’t even started yet. I think because of his potential he could do even more for the Brazilian national team,’ he said. ‘We all know his skills but of course he depends on all of us to help him too.
‘We are here to help him and do everything we can so that Neymar can give the fans happiness.’
Playing in his first World Cup, Neymar already has 35 goals in 52 games for Brazil since making his debut in 2010 and, despite a largely forgettable debut campaign with Barcelona, has carried the weight of the nation’s hopes on his shoulders from the start of the summer.
Willian meanwhile is coming off a quietly impressive first season with Chelsea, having moved to Stamford Bridge from Anzhi Makhachkala last August for €35 million, scoring only four times in 42 games across all competitions but standing out more for his creative play.
Having been introduced as a late substitute in the games against Mexico and Cameroon, some have called for the 25-year-old to be brought into the lineup over the under-performing Hulk, but manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has remained fiercely loyal to his original starting XI thus far.
Led by one of the most highly-rated stars in world football, Brazil clearly remain among the tournament favourites as the knockout stages approach but, with their in-form South American rivals up next, they will need the rest of the side to start playing to their full potential if they are to avoid disappointment.
Chasing a historic sixth World Cup title, one gets the impression that fans of the host nation would settle for nothing less than victory at the Maracana on July 13, putting the pressure firmly on Neymar and his teammates to produce.