Neymar scores in return; Brazil tops Croatia

Neymar, the world's most expensive player following his blockbuster move from Barcelona past year, had been sidelined since the end of February when he fractured his foot playing for PSG in a league victory against Marseille.

Brazil striker Neymar made a spectacular return on Sunday after a three-month absence with a foot injury and celebrated a superb individual goal with his surgeon.

Neymar had started on the bench as he eases back into contention but there was a start for former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho on his return to Anfield.

Representing Brazil in a pre-World Cup friendly against Croatia, Firmino grabbed a second goal for a Brazilian side that ran out 2-0 winners.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker replaced Fernandinho at half-time, and put Brazil in front in the 69th minute.

When asked after the match about Neymar potentially joining Madrid this summer, Modric said after Brazil's win over Croatia: 'Let's see what happens'.

Brazil head to Russian Federation as one of the favourites but this was a largely flat display, despite Tite choosing to start Gabriel Jesus, Willian and Philippe Coutinho, making his first appearance at the stadium since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona in January.

Brazil's striker Neymar (R) vies with Croatia's defender Sime Vrsaljko (L) and Croatia's midfielder Mateo Kovacic (C) in the build up to scoring the opening goal of the global friendly football match between Brazil and Croatia at Anfield in Liverpool on June 3, 2018.

"He will have to go through stages - he is going to have his ups and downs but by the third, fourth or fifth game he will be back to his level".

It was a current Liverpool hero who sealed a stylish end to the match, though, Firmino chesting down Casemiro's flighted pass before lifting a neat finish over Danijel Subasic with practically the last kick of the game.

Brazil face Austria in a friendly next Sunday before they begin their campaign for a sixth World Cup against Switzerland on June 17.

  • Gwendolyn Kim