Neymar ignored a Brazil national team security guard to greet a Croatian player’s child despite his team having just been knocked out of the World Cup. The kid, believed to be Tottenham star Ivan Perisic’s, left Croatia’s jubilant celebrations to get a special moment with the Paris Saint-Germain ace.
Croatia had just knocked tournament favourites Brazil out of the World Cup via a dramatic penalty shootout. Defender Marquinhos missed the crucial spot-kick and Brazil will extend their World Cup trophy drought to at least 24 years.
Brazil’s players were devastated after the game while they watched their opponents celebrate a remarkable victory. But Neymar respectfully still afforded his time to a young fan clad in Croatia gear.
The child was part of Croatia’s celebrations and The Athletic report that he is the son of veteran midfielder Perisic. The youngster spotted Neymar and sprinted from Croatia’s camp to the halfway line to meet the 30-year-old.
A security guard initially prevented the child from making his way to the attacker. However, Neymar ushered the official away and spent a few seconds with the fan.
Videos from fans and journalists on social media show Neymar high-fiving, hugging and taking a photo with the youngster. The child then returns to Croatia’s celebrations on the other half of the pitch with another young member of the team’s family.
BBC presenter Mark Chapman said of the incident: “Do you know what, you’re watching some celebrations here but right down the pitch, I’m going to say this as you look at this.
“One of the Croatian kids ran away from that celebrations to try and talk to Neymar and a Brazilian security guy came over and went: “No, no, no, no.” And actually then Neymar got up and spoke to the little boy and then walked over.”
Croatia won following a remarkable contest that went the distance. Neymar opened the scoring at the end of the first half in extra-time. Bruno Petkovic equalised with a deflected effort and Croatia went on to win on penalties, with goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic once again the hero.
Incredibly, the Balkan nation have not won a World Cup knockout tie in normal time since 1998. That is despite reaching the final in 2018 and now being semi-finalists this year.
For Brazil, Tite’s side underwhelmed in Qatar. They headed to Qatar as tournament favourites but there were scarce glimpses of a side capable of going all the way.
Neymar’s World Cup was disrupted by an ankle injury that kept him out of two group stage ties. The former Barcelona star scored two goals but would have hoped to have had more of an impact.