‘Neymar is not a Child; He is a Man’ – Dani Alves

It’s amazing how the media can formulate a narrative about someone by publishing misleading headlines and using certain keywords in their articles.

Neymar Jr. is no stranger to this tactic and it’s why he recently said in an interview that he doesn’t read much football news or watch sports shows. Who can blame him?

The latest example comes from ESPN FC who reported on an interview that Dani Alves did with TV SporTV Grance Circulo but they’re far from the only culprit (Daily Mail, The Independent, and Goal to name a few).

Did you notice that the headline from the source of the interview didn’t call him a child? They went with something a little less clickbaity: Daniel Alves takes Neymar’s strongest opinion and says, “People have to learn to respect.”

Let’s look at the exact quote that the media sunk their hooks into and see if it’s not a bit more nuanced than they thought:

“Neymar is a very sensitive person. Neymar is very affected by many things, and at times many of those are unjust. Neymar has the sensibility of a child. But Ney is not a child, no. He is a man. People have to start learning to respect Neymar. The Ney of the Brazilian team people don’t respect. People only respect you when you position yourself.”

The media picked up on that one line about Neymar having the sensibility of a child but didn’t feel the need to highlight that Alves literally said right after that Neymar is not a child. Interesting…

I point out this foolishness because it actually plays into the larger issue that Alves is making about his friend Neymar.

If I’m reading Alves’ comments correctly, what he is saying is that by not speaking up and leading by example, Neymar allows the media, former coaches, players, and fans to create his narrative instead of being a leader and speaking up so everyone knows the meaning behind his actions and what he’s thinking so there’s no need to guess.

His desire to leave PSG last summer, documented by Bleacher Report, is a good example. If he publicly stated that he wasn’t happy at the club and wanted to leave, I think most fans would have at least respected him for being honest.

Another example would be the diving issue. After the 2018 FIFA World Cup where Neymar took some pretty noteworthy dives, he was turned into a meme and ridiculed on just about ever football outlet around the world. We recently learned through an interview with Ronaldo via Otro that Neymar dives to protect his body:

In 2018, Neymar was the most-fouled player in Europe’s top leagues according to ESPN and “diving,” according to Neymar, is his way to protect himself. He has suffered several serious injuries since coming to the French capital and the physical style of Ligue 1 is likely one of the reasons he wanted to go back to the more forgiving La Liga where officials will protect him on the pitch more than in France.

Neymar is currently rehabbing an injured hamstring and will hopefully return to Paris Saint-Germain after the next international break, which spans from November 11 to November 19. So far this season, Neymar has been outstanding in his limited playing time, scoring four times in five games. Not bad for “a child” if you ask me!

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Tags Dani Alves media Neymar
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