All eyes on Neymar at men's Olympic soccer tournament
SAO PAULO: The last time Brazil played a major soccer tournament at home, Neymar was stretchered off the field and then missed an embarrassing loss against Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinals.
Two years later, the Barcelona star looks to rebound from that disappointment at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Although the Olympic soccer tournament doesn't have the same importance of a World Cup, the Rio Games have a special meaning for the Brazilian striker. Neymar will be one of the games' biggest stars and will carry the responsibility of leading the five-time world champions to their first soccer gold medal.
"It's a unique opportunity," he said. "Not only for me, but for everyone on the team. We know how important this medal is."
"I don't compare tournaments. I just like winning every tournament that I play," Neymar said. "All of them are important for me. Each has its own history, its own characteristic, but they are all important."
Brazil had a favorable draw and will face South Africa, Iraq and Denmark in Group A, making its debut Aug. 4 against South Africa in Brasilia. In the quarterfinals, the hosts could face Colombia or Nigeria, two youth powerhouses.
The final will be played Aug. 20 at Maracana Stadium in Rio.