‘Some players couldn’t stand him anymore’: Neymar’s sad ending at PSG

Former Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar (32) left the club acrimoniously last summer after a somewhat underwhelming six years in the French capital, joining Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal in a reported 90M€ deal.

Despite impressive stats on paper (118 goals and 77 assists in 173 appearances), the Brazilian’s time at the Parc des Princes was marred by persistent injuries, indifferent form in clutch games such as the latter stages of the Champions League, with the exception of the 2019/2020 in which the team made the final under Thomas Tuchel, and what L’Équipe has confirmed to be an increasingly bad attitude as his time with a club drew to a close. 

In the report by France Football, it is revealed that the emergence of Kylian Mbappé as the face of the club was met with hostility by Neymar, subsequently causing their relationship to deteriorate. An unnamed PSG staff member lifted the lid on the situation: 

” At the start, Mbappé liked him, but lost respect for him having spent time alongside him on a daily basis. On the other side of things, Neymar and Lionel Messi were annoyed that Kylian had become the symbol of the club.

Messi, even if he was introverted, always said hello. Not Neymar. He gave you the impression that he didn’t respect you. He refused contact. It’s a shame, because in private he is apparently a nice and generous guy. I never found him to be pleasant or generous. Even if he understood French, he never made an effort to speak it. 

Indeed, after two or three good seasons, “Ney” gave me the impression that he was completely fed up. Fed up with football, fed up with money.. He wasn’t hungry anymore. He still had motivation to play for the national team, but not to go and play in Brest.”

As well as the decline in his relationship with Mbappé, Neymar also fell out with other PSG players, such as youngster Ismael Gharbi and Portuguese midfielder Vitinha. An anonymous source confirmed the altercations: 

“With Gharbi, Neymar grabbed him and tried to kick him whilst he was on the ground. Everyone was shocked. At the end of his time at PSG, he really wasn’t very nice. He also bullied Vitinha, who denied it because he is a nice guy and didn’t want any problems, but he was insulted on several occasions.”. 

The Vitinha incident is notable because Neymar’s exit goes a long way to explaning the sharp upturn in the midfielder’s form under Luis Enrique this season, free of the spectre of an angry, disillusioned Brazilian. 

Although his behaviour and attitude made Neymar unpopular with players come the end of his tenure in Paris, it is important to note that this was a symptom of a wider malaise for the player, a depression and disillusionment that manifested itself in late night house parties at his Yvelines mansion, arriving drunk to training and various other activities such as gaming and poker that took the Brazilian’s focus away from the field. Indeed, it is revealed that Neymar was even found crying by a team-mate during half-time of a league game, exclaiming that no one understood him. 

One person who definitely doesn’t understand Neymar is ex midfielder Neto. The Brazilian, formerly of Corinthians, used his platform on Brazilian football talk show Os Donos Da Bola: 

“I criticise him all the time, but do you think I’m a complete idiot or what? Do you really think I prefer to see Endrick, Vitor Roque or Rodrygo play ahead of Neymar? Of course I prefer to see a Neymar in his best shape in my team, but not in these conditions, not with this behaviour and these transgressions! He can’t be part of the Selecao, he’s like a rotten banana. If he continues, he’ll contaminate all the others!”

Let’s not kid ourselves: Neymar had some brilliant moments in the colours of PSG. Moments where he showed us the real Neymar: the generational skill and footwork, the decisiveness and unrivalled incision that took him to the pinnacle of world football at Barcelona beforehand. Nevertheless, it should have been so much more.

The most expensive transfer in football history (222M€) arrived to huge fanfare in the French capital, promising to take the club to the next level after seasons of toil in Europe. He left depressed, angry and by the back door, slinking off to Saudi Arabia with a very full bank account and a whole lot of unfulfiled potential. 

GFFN | Jack McArdle







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