Neymar may score lots of goals for Brazil, but he doesn’t yet have the stuff to lead the four-time World Cup winner into a new era of football supremacy, former Selecao star Leonardo says.
In an interview with SporTV, Leonardo questioned Neymar’s ability to captain the Brazilian national team, even though he’s just 23 years old.
“Neymar is a great player but he doesn’t yet have the maturity to lead Brazil and take charge of a team,” Leonardo said, as translated by ESPNFC . “He was criticised a lot when he played in Brazil. He just wanted to have the ball and dribble so that he could score and make the difference.”
Leonardo, who won a World Cup with Brazil in 1994, does see improvement in the young
Barcelona forward, who struggled with discipline in the Copa America this summer.
He was suspended four matches, and therefore sent home for the remainder of the tournament, after headbutting Colombia defender Jeison Murillo in an eventual 1-0 group-stage loss. The incident prompted a tussle on the field, and Neymar was red-carded.
Despite returning from the mumps, Neymar is doubtful to play for Brazil in its friendly against Costa Rica on Saturday.
He is among the Brazilian greats on the all-time scoring chart, with 44 goals for his country thus far.