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Days before the World Cup, Brazil national team striker Neymar showed that he’s ready for the biggest football spectacle in their warm-up match against Croatia on Sunday at Anfield.

The 26-year-old Neymar, who was sidelined in February due to a metatarsal injury, returned to the pitch as he was fielded in the 45th minute against the Croatians, replacing Fernandinho.

The Brazilian striker announced his return after just 24 minutes as he scored from close range after eluding three Croatian defenders. Neymar escaped his defenders with a Lionel Messi-like move before rifling a kick that almost ripped a hole through the roof of the net. Roberto Firmino added another goal in extra time to lift Brazil to a 2-0 triumph.

Neymar Key To Brazil’s Success

The Paris Saint-Germain star missed 98 days of action after suffering a foot injury during their showdown against Marseille in February. Neymar’s return came as a welcome development for the Brazilians, as they could face an uphill climb in Russia without their superstar striker.

Brazil will play one more friendly against Austria on Sunday and will open its campaign in the World Cup against Switzerland on June 17. Aside from Neymar, Brazil will also rely on Philippe Coutinho, Willian, and Gabriel Jesus.

PSG Paid Record Transfer Fee For Neymar

Last year, Neymar made his move from Barcelona to PSG after the latter paid a record transfer fee amounting to $263 million (€222 million). The giant French football club also signed Neymar to a five-year deal with an annual salary of $53 million, making him the highest-paid football player in the world.

Neymar’s salary surpassed the take of Carlos Tevez from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, where he’s earning $42 million. “Paris St-Germain’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings,” Neymar says after his transfer became official in August 2017.

Neymar Could Leave PSG

However, there were reports that Neymar could leave PSG, as the French club is reportedly facing sanction for excessive spending. The development could force PSG to sell some of its assets, including Neymar. According to the Daily Star, PSG could arrange a deal that would send Neymar to the European champions, Real Madrid.

Neymar’s move to Real Madrid was floated after Croatia midfielder Luka Modric was seen telling the Brazilian superstar “we’re waiting for you, eh” during their warm-up game. Neymar’s move to Real Madrid could happen, as the team is one of the few clubs who could afford PSG’s demand in the summer transfer window.

Photo: Antoine Dellenbach  | Flickr

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