One of the biggest storylines in world football heading into the new season was how Neymar Jr. would adapt to life in Paris after pushing so hard for a transfer back to FC Barcelona. In a candid interview with Outro, Neymar sheds light on his current situation at Paris Saint-Germain, his relationship with fans, and teammates.
Recorded prior to the international break where he sustained a hamstring injury with the Brazil national team, Neymar appears very relaxed with the interviewer and opens up about his start to the season where he has scored four goals in five games for PSG.
There are a couple of big takeaways in the more than six-minute-long conversation. Neymar said that he is happy in Paris and wants to give his all for the club and bring the UEFA Champions League trophy to the French capital. As a fan, I can’t hear that enough from him.
I also thought his comments on the supporters were insightful. He said he understands their frustration with him but that he hopes that fans will try to understand him when he says that he wanted to leave last summer because he was unhappy. I think that’s a fair request from him.
When Neymar talks about his life as a footballer and how everything he says is blown out of proportion by the media, it’s hard to not feel for the guy. Few can imagine what his day-to-day life is like and the amount of pressure on him. He can’t turn on the television, click on a link, or read a magazine without some kind of commentary about him. It has to be exhausting and his injury situation will only add to his frustration.
Finally, what might be the biggest news coming out of the interview is Neymar’s relationship with his teammates and Kylian Mbappé in particular. According to Neymar, the vibe is good in the dressing room and the newest additions—Keylor Navas, Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera, and others—have blended in well. When it comes to Mbappé, the two get along very well and communicate speaking English. Neymar says his friendship with Mbappé is different than his relationship with everyone else and that translates to the pitch.
Hopefully, Thomas Tuchel and his medical staff can get these two players on the pitch at the same time at some point soon. PSG has achieved success so far this year but you feel that this season won’t be special unless both Neymar and Mbappé are able to connect when it matters most.
Read some of Neymar’s responses below and watch the full interview on YouTube.
How is life in Paris?
All good. I feel happy. I mentioned I am an athlete for this club, a professional, and I will do my best for Paris. I will give 100% on the pitch and try to bring victories to Paris, especially in the Champions League.
How was the vibe when you returned? I liked what you said…I think you were in an interview at Zona Mista, about the crowd being like a relationship with a girlfriend. Tell me, how is it?
It’s coming back now. Soon, the love will return, God willing. But this is not new.
The football crowd is always like that, no?
It is normal, I understand their feelings too. I understand what goes on, or I can try to understand what goes on in their minds. But I ask them to understand me too. I think when you’re not happy, regardless of what your job is, you try to change, you try to find new places, a new profession so that you find yourself. So, this is what I tried to do. But I ended up staying. And, as I mentioned, I will give my best. That’s when I compared it to a relationship between a man and a woman. You always end up fighting, and it’s part of any relationship. You always end up arguing but later you make peace and then the love returns.
You are only 27-years-old. You know how your name strongly interests the world’s media. How do you deal with…What do you do to deal with this pressure?
Well, it’s different. I know that today, everything I do, everything I say, anything with my name…I think it is a huge boom. Things get way bigger. I try not to read them, to be honest. I try not to read everything. I try not to watch sports shows. I always stay clear of all these things. My life is…my routine is already pretty exhausting. Because it wears you out. You train too much, you have to be focused, you need to rest, you need to do this and that. Then, I try to look for things that relieve me from this routine. Like meeting friends, going out for dinner.
How is the vibe in the changing room?
The vibe there has never stopped being cool. It has always been good. I think this year has been…It is the year that has more people who are easy to talk to, to get along with. The new people who arrived are fun, they are focused, they are good players. So, I think this year promises good things for Paris.
We often see on your social media you and Mbappe. Parting, laughing…Is it a good friendship? Is it important to have friends in your team?
It’s important. It’s a very large squad, so you end up having special affinity with one, two, or three. You don’t have an affinity with everyone. But, for a good workplace, you need to have a good relationship with everyone. And with Kylian it’s different. We are…He speaks French, he’s French, and I am Brazilian, I speak Portuguese. And we talk in English. And we get along very well. He’s an incredible kid. He’s joyful, he’s happy…Not to mention his football, which is amazing. So, we get along really well both on and off the pitch. So I think this makes things easier…for our game, for our team. Because we always help each other, and this is reflected in our team, of course.
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