Ander Herrera stuck up for Neymar Jr. in a recent interview with ESPN, claiming that his teammate is often on the receiving end of biased reporting.
“[Neymar] is one of the big surprises I have found in my career because when the media speaks it is not always positive,” Herrera told ESPN. They are always trying to find a way to kill him.”
“But I found a guy who is happy every day, that is trying to make the group strong. He organizes dinners at his house so we can be together and he tries to win us as many trophies as possible.”
“He is smiling every day and creating a good atmosphere in the team. He told me he was happier than ever in the club. It’s like I read about a different player than the one that I found.”
“I understand that all the people want to talk about him, maybe because of his hair or the way he dresses.”
What Herrera is essentially saying here is that most of what you read about Neymar is completely different than what he has experienced training with the player and spending time with him on and off the pitch. It’s also not the first time he’s said something like this either.
Often times, Neymar is portrayed as someone who is trapped at PSG and longing for a return to FC Barcelona to reunite with Lionel Messi. However, it’s been reported that Neymar has told those close to him that he is happy in Paris and the joy in which he plays would seem to indicate that.
There’s no question that Neymar is the most polarizing player in world football and negative coverage of the Brazil international drives clicks and sells newspapers.
This season, though, Neymar has made life difficult for his journalist friends because not only has he been sensational on the pitch, where he’s scored game-winning goals and led PSG into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, but he’s also been professional off the pitch. He even held a low-key (well, low-key for him anyway) birthday bash instead of the lavish parties he’s held in the past.
While the Ligue 1 season is over, there’s still a good chance the Champions League will resume in August. If Neymar can somehow lead PSG to its first title in club history, we could see the most positive media coverage of the 28-year-old since his move to Paris in 2017.
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