The innocent delight with which Neymar has assumed the mantle of greatness is bringing back the romance, capturing hearts and minds the world over.The MaplestoryM Mesos old samba spirit enlivens his happy celebrations – witness him shimmying with his girlfriend late into the night after Brazil stamped their passport to Russia 2018 – but when he goes clubbing it is a soft drink which he is seen to be clutching in his spare hand.Messi's frustrations, meanwhile, spilled over into foul-mouthed abuse of an assistant referee as Argentina lost on the rarefied heights of Bolivia to plunge their hopes of qualification into jeopardy.
Tut, tut Senor Role Model.Given that Messi, for whatever reason, has so far failed to apply to his formidable club legacy the hallmark of a World Cup-winning performance, the chalice of greatness would seem destined to be passed to his Brazilian club-mate in Moscow next summer.If so, few will begrudge this delightful young man that distinction. Cristiano Ronaldo is pictured at the ceremony to rename Funchal airport in his honour It should not be long before England's footballers follow Brazil in stamping their Russia 2018 visas.
Among the young hopefuls in that queue we should find the veteran goal-scorer who played a major part in bringing World Cup qualification ever closer by notching the opening goal in Sunday's Wembley win over Lithuania.Which begs the question of why Jermain Defoe was left largely idle as England floundered in recent World Cups.An embarrassing question for a couple of Gareth Southgate's predecessors as the national team manager.
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