Ex-PSG Defender Reflects on ‘Enormous’ Pressure Neymar Faced Following Barcelona Exit

Last summer, Paris Saint-Germain ended the Neymar Jr. era after the Brazilian arrived from FC Barcelona in 2017. The Parisians activated the forward’s €222 million release clause, allowing him to leave the Catalan side for the French capital. 

During his seven years, Neymar had his highs and lows, but the 32-year-old did play a part in getting PSG to the UEFA Champions League final in 2020. In an interview on Rothen s’enflamme, former PSG defender Abdou Diallo spoke about the forward’s time in Paris.

Upon his arrival from Barcelona, Neymar was burdened with sky-high expectations, a challenge that proved to be daunting

“What I think is that the expectations made on him when he arrived (at PSG) were enormous, it was too huge, perhaps even too great for a single player,” Diallo told the French show. “You have the impression that he’s going to do everything on his own. Afterward, we can criticize him for some of his absences, in the sense that at key moments in a season, he’s been absent for several years. But of course, he can’t control everything since it’s also injuries. 

Nevertheless, in terms of statistics, contributions to the game, personality, spectacle, emotions transmitted, we can’t talk about Neymar’s stint at PSG being a failure. We cannot say Neymar’s time at PSG has been a failure. I don’t know if we had a more exciting player than Neymar in Franceor in our entire history in real life. He’s an alien.”

Neymar moved last summer to Al-Hilal, and this season, the veteran again dealt with injury issues. After suffering a knee injury last fall, he missed most of the 2023-24 season. The Brazilian’s time came to an end, but he still has a place in PSG history, and with time, supporters can appreciate what he achieved. 

Tags Abdou Diallo Al-Hilal Barcelona Neymar
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