TOKYO, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian soccer ace Neymar said Thursday he is on the way to reaching full fitness following a serious back injury sustained at the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Neymar who arrived at Tokyo's Haneda airport earlier Thursday to star in a TV commercial for a mattress manufacturer told reporters he's making steady progress and is looking forward to the season ahead with Spanish giants Barcelona.
"I am getting better little by little, my back is improving and soon I will be 100 percent," Neymar told a press conference in Tokyo after his arrival.
The 22-year-old superstar's run in the World Cup finals came to an abrupt end after he was stretchered off the pitch following a second-half collision with Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga during the quarterfinals.
The Columbian kneed Neymar in the back with subsequent scans revealing the Brazilian talisman had fractured a vertebra in his spine.
Brazil went on without Neymar, who'd scored four goals in five games, only to get pummeled by eventual tournament winners Germany 7-1 in the semifinals.
Despite Brazil's drubbing, Neymar said he was looking forward to the season ahead starting on Aug. 24 with Barcelona and said he plans on winning the La Liga title.
"I want to win the title everyone is hoping for," he told reporters, while reclining on a mattress he will endorse, designed specifically for athletes.
"This mattress feels fantastic. I think it will help with my recovery and I'm looking forward to testing it after my long trip here," the frontman said.
Neymar is making his first trip here since the 2011 Club World Cup when he was still playing for Brazil's Santos FC. Such is the popularity of the young superstar that he was mobbed by more than 700 adoring fans at the airport upon his arrival.