Neymar has expressed his disappointment after Brazil were sent crashing out of the World Cup on Friday following a 2-1 defeat to Belgium in the quarter-finals in Russia.
“I can say it is the saddest moment of my career, the pain is great because we knew we could get there, we know we had a chance to go far, to make history... But it wasn’t to be this time,” he wrote in an Instagram post.
Posso dizer que é o momento mais triste da minha carreira, a dor é muito grande porque sabíamos que poderíamos chegar, sabíamos que tínhamos condições de irmos mais além, de fazer história .. mas não foi dessa vez. Difícil encontrar forças pra querer voltar a jogar futebol, mas tenho certeza que Deus me dará força suficiente pra enfrentar qualquer coisa, por isso nunca deixarei de te agradecer Deus, até mesmo na derrota... porque eu sei que o teu caminho é muito melhor do que o meu 🙏🏽❤️ Muito feliz em fazer parte desse time, estou orgulhoso de todos, interromperam nosso sonho mas não tiraram da nossa cabeça e nem dos nossos corações 🙏🏽❤️ . . . 📷 @nogueirafoto
Brazil were stunned in Friday night’s match in Kazan, finding themselves 2-0 at half-time and unable to find a comeback in the second half, despite a goal by substitute Renato Augusto.
The disappointment freshens up the bad memory of Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 loss against Germany in the semi-finals four years ago, when they hosted the tournament.
They played that match without Neymar, who had been stretchered off in the quarter-final win over Colombia with a fractured vertebrae.
He came to Russia having only just returned from an operation on a fractured bone in his foot in early March.
“It is difficult to find the strength to want to go back out and play football, but I am certain that God will give me sufficient strength to face up to anything,” Neymar added.
“Very happy to be part of this team, I am proud of everyone. They interrupted our dream but they have not taken it from our heads or our hearts.”
The forward, who became the world’s most expensive player when he left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain last year for 222 million euros ($264 million), will be 30 by the time the next World Cup comes around in Qatar in 2022.
Brazil have now been knocked out in the quarter-finals at three of the last four tournaments since winning the World Cup for the fifth time, in Japan in 2002.
The Brazil squad were due to leave Russian soil on Saturday afternoon on a flight to Madrid, before carrying on to Rio de Janeiro, where they are due to arrive in the early hours of Sunday.