TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — Teammates and coaches are trying to take some of the pressure off Neymar at the World Cup, saying the Brazil star shouldn't be the only one expected to play well and lead the team to the title.
Though usually quick to praise the youngster, the squad and staff have recently been more concerned with trying to ease the burden on Neymar of carrying the hopes of an entire nation.
"Neymar can't win by himself and he can't lose by himself," Scolari said. "He is part of a group. At times he will show that he can be greater than other players, and we all know that, the players know that. But he is part of a group. He wins with the group and he loses with the group."
The 22-year-old Barcelona forward has been Brazil's leader on the field since Scolari began preparing the team for the home World Cup. He led Brazil to the title in last year's warm-up tournament, the Confederations Cup, and is the squad's top scorer with 33 goals in 51 matches.
When Neymar is on top of his game, Brazil thrives, when he's not, it usually struggles.
"Neymar is a great player. He brought back the magic of the Brazilian player. He's letting us dream about having a Brazilian as the best player in the world again," Brazil defender David Luiz said.
"But he also knows that it's not only up to him to do well. He doesn't have to carry the responsibility of deciding every match by himself, of being the best player in every match, of scoring goals in every match, of playing well in every match."