Neymar’s world is never dull, from fights with the law and Barcelona over contracts to a new chapter that sees a PSG power play with Cavani
Neymar has enjoyed a successful start to life in France on the pitch, having already netted five goals and five assists in just six appearances for PSG. But this success has been contrasted with events that the Brazilian could not have imagined.
It is not in footballing terms that Neymar has had problems. What he is being criticized for is directly related to his relationship with teammates and opponents, as first displayed in his Champions League debut for PSG away to Celtic in Glasgow.
The attacker had an impeccable performance guiding PSG to a 5-0 win, however, it did not prevent him from criticism from the British press for petulant behavior. Celtic youngster Anthony Ralston added fuel to fire after claiming that the Brazilian refused to shake hands with him, at full-time.
— The Marina Dalglish Appeal (@MDALGLISHAPPEAL) September 13, 2017
It comes at a time where many are branding Neymar as a mercenary for following money and leaving a bright career at Barcelona. Many are waiting for the slightest mistake to point fingers at the PSG player.
The story did not end there. In the weekend Ligue Un clash against Lyon, Neymar’s reputation was further tarnished. The alleged villain used Dani Alves to prevent Edinson Cavani from taking a free-kick, and still had the audacity ask the Uruguayan to convert a crucial penalty, despite Cavani being named as the first choice taker.
The next day, l’Equipe would go further and allege that the two stars had a locker-room disagreement after the game, where PSG captain Thiago Silva had to intervene. That very same French paper, thought to have a bad relationship with PSG, also claimed that Neymar had asked a club director to sell Cavani in the summer.
So of course, this series of events that some people would like to believe, further ruins Neymar’s public image. And let’s face it, he is an easy target in such matters.
Now, time for the other side of the story. Cavani had taken the three previous penalties for PSG this season, not allowing Neymar to take any of them, despite the Brazilian repeatedly asking. So it is understandable why Neymar would not want to share his free-kicks either.
Concerning the penalty, it needs to be put into perspective by using the chronological events. It came right after PSG took the lead against Lyon, with Cavani supposedly opening the scoring with a back-heel finish. Little did Neymar know that it would be counted as an own goal. As a matter of fact, team-manager Unai Emery revealed in his post-match press conference that he instructed both players to reach a gentleman’s agreement as to who takes penalties.
Claims that Cavani was the first-choice taker were denied by Emery, who had previously said that if one player scores first, then it is the second who takes the penalty. If that is the case, then Neymar’s request would have been understandable.
Neymar, for all his footballing talents, remains a turbulent character who is short-tempered. However, this is not an excuse to use his reputation by creating false stories that are easy to believe by those who dislike him for his move to PSG.
Despite having millions of fans, the Brazilian also has those who feel differently no matter what he does. However, just because he has a past record of childish acts, there is no justification for spreading rumors. Neymar already has a controversial character, so there is nothing to be gained in making him look worse… unless the story is believable and gets a lot of attention apparently.