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While You Were Asleep: Neymar unsure about Brazil future, Scaloni hails Argentina’s ‘beautiful’ victory, Erik ten Hag slams Ronaldo

Neymar has revealed he’s not 100% sure if he will play for Brazil again. Scaloni was surprised by the aggression of the Netherlands in quarter-final. Manchester United manager opens up about Ronaldo's exit.

Brazil's Neymar reacts after the World Cup quarterfinal loss against Croatia; Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts after scoring a penalty kick; Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during training. (Reuters | AP)
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Neymar, who looked inconsolable after Brazil’s shock exit from the FIFA World Cup revealed he’s not 100 per cent sure if he will play for Brazil again.

Neymar scored in the first half of extra-time after the game was deadlocked at 0-0 after 90 minutes. And his strike put him level with Brazil legend Pele’s record of 77 goals for their nation.

The Brazilian superstar didn’t get to take his country’s fifth spot-kick, either, as teammates Rodrygo and Marquinhos missed their penalties to send the Selecao home.

When asked if he’d play for his country again after the game, Neymar said: “Honestly, I do not know.

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“I think talking now is bad because of the heat of the moment. Maybe I’m not thinking straight.

“I want to take this time to think about it, think about what I want for myself. I will not close the door to playing with Brazil, nor do I say 100 per cent that I’ll come back.”

Scaloni heaps praise on Argentina

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni lauded his team’s remarkable performance against Netherlands in the quarter-final.

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Argentina had triumphed 4-3 on penalties, following a 2-2 draw.

“The game was heated,” said Scaloni after the match.

“But this was a quarter-final. And what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch. Of course we had 11 men. Leo (Messi) was a very important player and he showed that he is the best of all times and we are happy that he is on our side.”

Scaloni was surprised by aggression of Netherlands in quarter-final.

“They played in a way I didn’t expect from them. But each team, each coach, decides how to play. I won’t speak about their football philosophy but in truth in the second half it was an ugly game.

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“We had no chances and it was frequently interrupted but they are allowed to play how they wish.”

Messi was the player of the match, creating the first, scoring Argentina’s second from the spot and then – for good measure – giving them the lead in the penalty shootout.

Ten Hag says Ronaldo ‘wasn’t in good shape’

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has hinted that Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of fitness was one of the reasons of Portuguese exit from the Old Trafford.

Ronaldo missed pre-season with the club because his daughter was ill.

And he struggled to make his mark when he did his limited chances – scoring once in ten league appearances – before his explosive interview with Piers Morgan that resulted in his axe.

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“We wanted him to be part of our project, him to contribute to Manchester United because he is a great player,” said Erik ten Hag.

“He has such a great history, but it’s the past and we have to look into the future and I don’t spend my energy on it.

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“I wanted him to stay from the first moment until now.

“He wanted to leave, it was quite clear.

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“And when a player definitely doesn’t want to be in this club then he has to go, clear.

“I did everything to bring him into the team because I value his quality.

“When he is in good shape, he is a good player and he could help us to get back and achieve the objectives we have.

“That is quite clear. But he wasn’t.”

First published on: 10-12-2022 at 08:11 IST
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