Neymar shared messages he exchanged with his Brazilian team-mates after their World Cup quarter-final exit “to show how much we wanted [to win the World Cup] and how united we were”.
However, following the defeat against Croatia on penalties, Brazilian media suggested the team was not united.
Neymar was close to taking Brazil’s fifth penalty but misses from Rodrygo and Marquinhos meant their fate was already sealed and he never intervened.
The 30-year-old later revealed via Instagram that he sent consolation messages to both players, as well as veteran defender Thiago Silva.
“I’m going to tell you that I’m your fan,” he told Marquinhos in a message. “A penalty won’t change how I feel about you. I’m with you forever, and you know it. I love you.”
Marquinhos, 28, who plays alongside Neymar at Paris St-Germain, responded by saying: “I really wanted everything to go well – it’s awful to think that this penalty was an obstacle in our dream! But let’s go -y, we have to be strong, give time and see what football has in store for us.”
He added: “Only we know what we went through to be here, what we went through those days, that’s why it really hurts, the weight is big, but God knows what it’s doing. If he gave me this, it’s because I can bear it and carry on.”
Aged 38, Silva is unlikely to feature in another World Cup. Neymar reached out to the centre-back saying: “We’ll have to continue my brother, unfortunately it’s like that! I wanted to give you this cup a lot. You, me and Dani [Alves] deserved a lot… But God has our purpose and He knows everything.
The Chelsea defender, who spent three seasons at Paris St-Germain alongside Neymar, responded by saying: “Brother, it’s harder than I initially thought.
“I can’t hold on. I can’t believe we lost! Every hour I remember makes me want to cry a lot… But I’ll be fine.”
At just 21, Rodrygo could feature in many more editions, but Neymar shared messages which showed he had consoled the Real Madrid striker after his weak penalty was easily saved by Croatian keeper Dominik Livakovic.
“Brother, I’m here to tell you that you are amazing,” wrote Neymar. “The only people who miss penalties are those who take them. I’ve already missed a lot in my career and I’ve learned with them. But I never gave up, I always tried to be better and to improve in every way.”
Rodrygo replied, “Thank you, my idol. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sorry for everything and for delaying your dream as well. I hope you can continue with us, so that we can win together.”
Neymar has played in three World Cups and equaled Pelé’s official goalscoring record 77 in 124 appearances for the Brazil the men’s team when he put his team ahead against Croatia in extra time.
However, he has yet to reach a World Cup final – and was out through injury when Germany beat the tournament hosts 7-1 in the 2014 semi-finals. the competition to the quarter-final stage in 2018.