Neymar can use PSG form and momentum to lift his first World Cup with Brazil at Qatar 2022, Mohamed Sissoko has told Stats Perform.
Neymar, 30, has had a strong start to the campaign with PSG, hitting 26 goals in 20 games so far (15 goals, 11 assists) and Sissoko believes he has shown the motivation to take that form to the world. cup, which starts on Sunday.
Speaking to Stats Perform, Sissoko predicted the Selecao would win the tournament, citing Neymar as one of the main reasons.
“[I think] Brazil [will win] because they have a strong team and a good spirit and I think they have a great chance to win this World Cup,” he said.
“I know [Neymar] will be on fire this year because when you’re on holiday and you decide to come back a week before the start, it’s because you have a good motivation. It’s because you have the World Cup. So he wants to show all the Brazilians that he is a great player and he wants to bring the World Cup back to Brazil.”
Sissoko, who also played for Liverpool and Juventus among others before retiring in 2019, has picked three more players he believes will do well at the World Cup, including two more Brazilians.
“[Aurelien] Tchouameni [of France] is a very good player,” said Sissoko. “Vinicius [Junior] will be on fire, also Raphinha from Barcelona. I think they have good motivation to do something very good at the World Cup.”
Sissoko featured in Mali as an international and pointed to Morocco as one of the African teams to watch out for in Qatar.
Morocco will be in Group F with Belgium, Croatia and Canada and recently hired French-born Walid Regragui as head coach.
“They have a good team. Not one of the best,” Sissoko said. “But I think this new manager I know him very [well]. He knows the French culture and also the Moroccan culture. So I think Morocco has a good team that can go far.”
Five African teams will take part in Qatar, with Morocco joined by Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia, and Sissoko will be hoping they can impress, even if lifting the trophy may be beyond their reach.
“I don’t know [if an African team can win the World Cup] because of the big talent and big teams like Brazil, Argentina, England and France. It’s not easy to compete with them at the moment, but I think having the quality to go to the quarter-finals,” he said.
“For me, Senegal is developing… I think Senegal is a team with more progress because they bring in a lot of foreign players. You know they have good players like [Kalidou] Koulibaly, like [Sadio] Mane, and now I’m starting to bring in a young player like [Ismail] Jakobs of Monaco.
“That’s very important to have a strong team, a strong group. So I think Senegal also has the strength to go to the quarter-finals.”