Paris Saint-Germain players and officials watched in shock when Neymar went down following a tough challenge by Thiago Mendes during the home Ligue 1 fixture against Olympique Lyonnais earlier this season.
Many assumed that with Neymar’s injury history, he would go on to miss a bulk of time because of the ankle injury suffered in this match. The Brazilian forward only went on to miss some fixtures as he returned to action in the following month.
Now, Thiago Mendes is once again sharing his side of just what happened when he committed the notable tackle on Neymar. Mendes spoke further about this matter during his talk with Goal (via Le10Sport).
“They think I was criminal in the tackle against Neymar, which is not the case,” Mendes said. “If you look at the picture, the left leg picks up the ball first, then his foot turns. I never intended to hurt him. The Brazilian people, especially, came on my family’s Instagram, my mother’s, my brother’s.
“If you unintentionally touch and hurt, people associate that you made a criminal entry and you should be banned from football. … After that, I did not have the opportunity to talk to him, but I apologized publicly on Instagram. I hope you saw, I think my explanation on Instagram was sincere. I would never apologize for the sake of apologizing.
“I never meant any harm. I know his level, it was an unfortunate moment. I prayed that it wouldn’t be serious. I saw that he left crying, and I wished him a speedy recovery. It took a while, but thank God it was nothing serious, and today he is playing again.”
As Mendes noted, thank God that Neymar did not suffer any long-term injury from the tackle. The Brazilian forward has since gone on to be a key contributor for PSG this season and could still finish off the campaign on a strong note with a potential domestic double.
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