Neymar of Brazil kneels on the pitch and cries after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 22, 2018. Brazil won 2-0. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
SAINT PETERSBURG, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Neymar has hit back at critics after breaking down in tears following Brazil's 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in their World Cup Group E match here on Friday.
Costa Rica defended resolutely until Philippe Coutinho broke the deadlock in the 91st minute. Neymar sealed the result by volleying in after Douglas Costa's cross in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
"Not everyone knows what I went through to get here," Neymar said in an Instagram post after the match. "Even parrots can talk. But to actually do - only few can."
In the moments after the final whistle, Neymar knelt alone on the Saint Petersburg Stadium pitch and wept before being consoled by teammates.
The 26-year-old's public show of emotion drew immediate criticism from O Globo, Brazil's largest newspaper, which ran an editorial opining that "it is not normal" to cry after the team's second match of the tournament.
Neymar explained that he was overwhelmed with joy after encountering "difficulties" to make it to the World Cup. The Paris Saint-Germain forward is likely to have been referring to a broken bone in his right foot that sidelined him for three months in the lead up to the tournament.
"My tears were of joy, of overcoming [difficulties], of struggle and of will to win," Neymar's post continued. "In my life things have never been easy and now will be no different. The dream continues, not a dream an OBJECTIVE. Congratulations to all the lads. You are awesome!"