Saturday May 25, 2024

Neymar praises coach Diniz ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Published : 11 Oct 2023, 13:37

  DF News Desk
Brazil's Neymar controls the ball during the 2026 World Cup qualifier match between Brazil and Bolivia at the Olympic Stadium of Para in Belem, capital of the State of Para, Brazil, on Sept. 8, 2023. File Photo: Xinhua.

Neymar has hailed Brazil head coach Fernando Diniz as one of the best managers in world football ahead of the team's 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Uruguay, reported Xinhua.

Diniz was appointed Brazil's national team boss in July and has already made a positive impact, having led the five-time world champions to victories in their first two qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru.

"Diniz is a great coach, one of the best we have in world football, in my opinion," Neymar told reporters on Tuesday.

"The freedom he gives us, not only to me, but to all the players, and the trust that he instills is the most important thing."

Diniz, who is feted in Brazil for his attacking brand of football, is concurrently managing Fluminense and has guided the Rio de Janeiro club to the final of this year's Copa Libertadores, South America's top club competition.

Neymar, who joined Al Hilal from Paris Saint-Germain in August, said he expects a difficult encounter against a Venezuela team that already has three points and sits fifth in the 10-team South American qualifying group.

Thursday's clash will mark Brazil's first game at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, a stadium built for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The city in central-western Brazil is regarded as one of the hottest places in South America with temperatures often surpassing 40 degrees Celsius at this time of year.

"It's going to be a tough game," Neymar said. "I confess that it is quite warm, but in a way I am used to it because in Saudi Arabia it is also very hot. Everyone suffers in the heat but the game is going to be at night so hopefully it won't be so intense."

Following the match against Venezuela, Brazil will travel to Montevideo for a clash against Uruguay at Estadio Centenario next Tuesday.