Neymar is unsure whether he will get the opportunity to represent Brazil at another World Cup after this year’s tournament in Qatar.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward will appear at his third World Cup later this month, where he will be looking to lead Brazil to their first triumph at the tournament for 20 years.
Neymar will be 34 years old by the time the 2026 World Cup begins, and with little certainty whether he will feature in that tournament, he hopes to cement a place in football history by leading Brazil to glory in Qatar.
“I’ll play like it’s the last,” Neymar told Globo. “I talk to my father, we always talk. [I’ll] play each game as if it were the last because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
“I can’t guarantee that I’ll play another [World] Cup. I honestly don’t know. I’ll play like it’s the last.
“Maybe I’ll play another one, maybe not. It depends. There’s going to be a coaching change [when Tite steps down after the World Cup] and I don’t know if that coach will like me.
“I’ve already built a long history in the national team and, for sure, I want to finish it well.
“I’m happy. I like to play football and I like to win. I like to be better than I am every day. I like helping my team-mates, which is the main thing. I hope my name is engraved in football history.”
Asked about Brazil’s chances of glory in Qatar, Neymar added: “I want to play this cup, dedicate myself to it, because I’m sure we have the potential to go very far.
“Although a lot of people don’t believe in us, we will prove otherwise. I see that this national team has a lot of good things, and I see that we can go very far.”
Since making his World Cup debut on home soil in 2014, Neymar has been directly involved in 42 per cent of Brazil’s 19 goals in the tournament (six goals, two assists).
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old has scored 75 times in 121 appearances for Brazil, putting him just two goals short of Pele’s Selecao record of 77.
While Neymar will be expected to trouble that record when Brazil face Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in their Group G campaign in Qatar, he says he is not driven by the desire to better Pele’s feats.
“It’s more than I imagined, than I dreamed. I never thought about numbers, I never wanted to overtake anyone, to break a record. I always just wanted to play football,” Neymar said.
“Pele is the reference. Pele is football. Pele is practically everything for our country. The respect and admiration I have for him is enormous.”