Neymar Jr. arrived in French football in 2017 when the Brazil international moved from Paris Saint-Germain to FC Barcelona.
The 30-year-old came over from La Liga and discovered that Ligue 1 is vastly different. In a recent interview with Esporte Espatacular (h/t Canal Supporters), Neymar noted that the league’s physicality surprised him the most all these years.
“I had no idea how strong and intense it was here. The only way to escape them is to be attentive, concentrated so as not to suffer injuries that I have known in the past because of violent hits.”
Additionally, the PSG star revealed how he protects himself from players who aren’t only attempting to take the ball away from him; they also want to cause physical harm.
“The more I get into it, and the more I want to dribble,” Neymar added. “It’s the only way I have to protect myself and attack the opponent. I don’t know how to get into it and don’t really know how to defend, so I use the dribble.”
It’s no surprise to anyone who follows Ligue 1 that football is a physical type and often the officiating allows players to get away with a little more than they should, especially when they play against PSG.
The league’s physicality has also brought about injuries to Neymar, causing him to miss key UEFA Champions League matchups during his time with the French giants.
Although Ligue 1 prides itself on physicality, the league should also attempt to protect star players, which is who the fans want to see and who drive financial investment into French football.