Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel has branded Neymar as Brazil’s “problem child” and suggested that head coach Tite hands him a spell on the sidelines for the good of the team
The five-time world champions secured their spot in the next round of the World Cup with a 2-0 win against the eliminated Serbia on Wednesday with Paulinho and skipper Thiago Silva getting on the scoresheet.
But Schmeichel, who is currently working as a host on an RT special for the World Cup, never doubted that Brazil wouldn’t make the last 16.
“Comfortable, very solid today, it was a straightforward two-nil win,” Schmeichel said on RT.
“Serbia didn’t have what it took today to put any kind of pressure on Brazil and, in fact, I think a lot of the Serbian players looked frustrated. Mitrovic up front – he was acting out all the time. He was getting booked as well.”
Schmeichel was a proven winner at both club and international level and knows all about winning at the highest level.
The Euro 1992 winner hailed the transformation that Tite has made at Brazil in his time in charge.
“If people think this is the Brazil of old, with all the flair and a lot of characters who do things that you never see, or you never see footballers do, then don’t watch Brazil, that’s not the team they are any more – very very solid, they are difficult to break down,” he said.
“[Tite’s] brought Paulinho back, he sits there in that gap in front of the back four – he did score the goal today, it was one of the first times I’ve actually seen him break into the other half.”
However, the Danish legend is not impressed with “problem child” Neymar and fears that the Paris Saint-Germain star is hindering the squad.
“They still have their little problem child Neymar, who is the most expensive player in the world, an unbelievable amount of money was paid to him by PSG and he’s still trying to impress everyone with his skills, and still nothing is really happening for Neymar, he had a couple of chances today that he missed,” said Schmeichel.
“It’s also in the actual game where I think he becomes the problem. It’s like the other players they think the game is designed to whenever they have the ball, they find Neymar and he will do something.
“They do find Neymar – that bit is ok. But he won’t do something. It’s not happening for him. And I think, either he needs a little break – he might not even be completely fit, because he’s always injured going into this tournament but his current standard and his current level, it might not be a bad idea to give him a bit of a break.
“Once you give a player like that a bit of thinking time, sat on the bench watching the other guys, he might come on and he might be a player that is more valuable to the team.”