Tuchel to Neymar: “The Hardest Thing Is Still To Come For You”

PSG’s manager opens up about Neymar Jr.’s return to Paris.

The Neymar Jr. transfer saga took many twists and turns last summer as chronicled by ESPN in their exhaustive piece on the entire situation. The Brazilian wanted to return to FC Barcelona, his former team before joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, but the Catalan club could not afford him and PSG had no reason to accommodate him unless they were fairly compensated.

In an exclusive interview with beIN Sports, PSG manager Thomas Tuchel opens up about his relationship with Neymar and how he went about integrating the 27-year-old back into the team.

“I knew about his wish to change clubs and he knew I did not like this,” Tuchel said. So for me as a coach, he knew clearly I didn’t want him to leave. But, we both know it is not my decision and not his decision in the end.”

Tuchel explained how he and Neymar decided to let those who handle transfers work it out and see if a deal could be made and keep their relationship intact.

“We both accepted it is not our level and we should not let things above us affect our relationship because there is a possibility that we will still work together and it would be stupid to let it have an effect on our personal relationship,” Tuchel said.

We also learned that during the negotiations, PSG had a clear policy that Neymar had to tell PSG that he would stay in order to play. That way, Tuchel didn’t have to guess whether the Brazilian would be available every week. As we saw, Neymar was in training and did everything asked of him leading up to the season despite the rumors.

“The guy [Neymar] has a good heart,” Tuchel said. “It makes it easy to stay close to him and to convince him to do the right things,” the German continued. “But, from now on, I told him when the thing [transfer window] is over, I said ‘you think the hardest thing is over but you have to deal with me now and I will push you hard, so the hardest thing is still to come for you.'”

It also sounds like Tuchel is playing an important role in helping Neymar deal with the negative supporters who are unhappy with his attempts to leave Paris.

“It’s not so nice when your player is talking for weeks and weeks that this [PSG] is not good enough and I want to leave.],” Tuchel explained. “So, sometimes it’s like this in life, you have to face the truths and you have to deal with the reactions.”

The public nature of Neymar’s failed transfer move meant that Tuchel was likely updated daily, if not hourly. Having a player of that quality openly demand a transfer away from you could have an impact on some younger managers but not Tuchel.

“No, between us, no. No personal rejection,” Tuchel said.

Tuchel’s management style appears to fit Neymar’s personality too. The former Borussia Dortmund boss stated in the interview that he is open to suggestions from players but also isn’t afraid to make an executive decision when he feels something is right. Neymar isn’t currently one of Tuchel’s five captains but perhaps a contract extension to remain in Paris would go a long way to earning that coveted armband.

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Posted by Ed

Ed is the founder of PSG Talk. When he's not blogging about Paris Saint-Germain he's usually in the backyard practicing his Zlatan scorpion kicks.