By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After weeks of silence, Brazilian superstar forward Neymar finally spoke to the media on Sunday, July 22nd, regarding Brazil’s surprising early exit from the 2018 Russia World Cup and the ensuing global ridicule he received from what many believe were his over-the-top theatrics on the pitch.

Brazil, Brazil News, Rio de Janeiro
After several weeks in which he avoided the media, Neymar finally opened up about Brazil’s loss in the 2018 World Cup and the global ridicule over his dives that followed, photo internet reproduction.

“I would not go as far as to say I did not want to play again but I did not want to see a ball or to see any more football played, because I wanted to disconnect a bit from everything,” Brazil’s No. 10 told Agence France Presse (AFP) at the Red Bull Neymar Jr. Five (five-a-side) tournament at the Neymar Praia Grande Institute in São Paulo.

Despite being the oddsmakers favorites entering the World Cup, the Seleção were ousted in the quarterfinals after a 2-1 loss to Belgium.

“I was in mourning. I was really sad about it, but sadness passes,” said Neymar. “I have my son, my family, my friends and they do not want to see me moping around. I have got more reason to be happy than sad.”

In many ways, Neymar’s 2018 World Cup campaign was one to forget. During Brazil’s five Cup games, the world’s most expensive player tallyed only two goals and two assists and spent a total of fourteen minutes on the floor.

His flamboyant dives after arguably minimal contact saw him become the butt of social media jokes and memes around the globe, leading to the Neymar Challenge.

In the AFP interview, Neymar joked about the multitude of internet videos mimicing his dives, and noted that “when it comes to me, there are double standards.”

“People were faster to criticize the one being fouled than the one doing the fouling,” he exclaimed.

“I went to the World Cup to play, to beat the opposition, not to get kicked. The criticism of me was exaggerated, but I am a big boy, I am used to dealing with this kind of thing.”

“I cannot be the referee and play at the same time but there are times I wish I could.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. There is blatant bias in this article. To say that Neymar “only” scored two goals and made two assists is minimising his achievements. That is good. YOu are also not including the corner he took that enable Thiago Silva to score in an earlier game. Neymar was included in the FIFA 11 for the world cup. Then you say that “many” believe. Both Bush and Trump proved that what is in the media is not always the general feeling of the public. But those in the media continue to represent themselves as representing the general feelings of the public, whihc they do not. And as for “global ridicule”, some commentary followed from the few members of the British media who chose to position his falls that way. Some of the public then followed and like Maradona’s “hand of god” goal believed they were seeing proof of what there was no actual prooof of. They believed it because they were told. Thats just people following what they’ve been told not a real assessment of the situation. The video of Maradonas hand of god is inconclusive, just like anything else. ALl this is ultimately stemming from the male jealousy around Neymars huge transfer fee. What Neymar shold do is withdraw from the national team since his efforts are not appreciated particularly from armchair critics like yourself. Can you even take a simple penalty? I didn’t think so. If Neymar’s own country cannot completely get behind him then why should he put himself through so much pain every time and have his efforts laughed at by lesser men. It is painful to have to play when you get kicked over and over again.

  2. Natalia,

    You don’t appreciate the nuances between Brazilian futebol and European/Global football. For all his talents, he expects to get fouled like players do in Brazil. The Brazilian game is traditionally not as fast or physical as the rest of the world. More technical yes, but fouls are called for implied contact in Brazil. Neymar gets frustrated when he doesn’t get those calls, and then exaggerated the effects. In turn, officials assume he’s always acting, which while not always the case causes him to receive far less protection than other stars. It’s different than the 2002 World Cup when Denislon went down like he’d been shot in the face, and the replay showed zero contact. In Neymar’s case it’s repetative. He was singled out as badly as anyone after that for just one incident. Neymar is skilled, but is his own worst enemy on and off the pitch. The crying, hystrionics, and millennial “me first” attitude is such that I wouldn’t want him on my team. He doesn’t care about “Brazil first” – just “Neymar First”

    This has nothing to do with politics, or British media. It’s global annoyance of a player acting like a petulant child.

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