Neymar responds to critics

Neymar - Brazil, PSG

Neymar – Brazil, PSG

Neymar has rounded on the critics who accused him of play-acting and failing to find his true form during the World Cup finals in Russia.

After Brazil’s 2-1 defeat to Belgium in the last eight, the £198m Paris Saint-Germain forward was singled out for failing to living to up expectations for the five-times world champions.

Neymar scored in Brazil’s 2-0 group win over Costa Rica while his effort against Mexico in the last 16 helped Tite’s team reach the quarter-finals.

“I’m criticised for everything, for what I say, for what I don’t say, I’m used to it. I’ve been through this a lot,” said Neymar.

“But I talked after a few days because I was soothing my pain I was sad, I had to take my time to be more calm. It was a very difficult time.”

“And when I said something it was how I always talked [via Instagram]. It’s where I feel comfortable, where I try to express my words, and bring the public closer to me. I’m cool about this.”

In an interview with AFP over the weekend, the 26-year-old forward also berated the standard of officiating in Russia and said: “I went to the World Cup to play, to beat the opposition, not to get kicked. The criticism of me was exaggerated, but I’m a big boy, I’m used to dealing with this kind of thing.

“I can’t be the referee and play at the same time, but there are times I wish I could.”

Neymar only returned to full fitness prior to the World Cup after needing surgery on the foot and ankle injury he suffered during a Ligue 1 match against Marseille in February.

He admits the agony of defeat to Belgium hit him hard, but was happy to see PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe help France win their second World Cup trophy.

Neymar scored 19 goals in 20 league matches with £162m teenager Mbappe hitting 13 in 24 to help PSG regain the French title a year after losing out to Monaco.

Neymar sees himself as a key part in Mbappe’s future development at PSG.

“I congratulated him, of course,” said Neymar.

“We talked during the World Cup, always, and we tried to meet in the semi-finals but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. – Eurosport

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