Neymar at PSG, an adventure with a taste of unfinished business
Neymar’s career has not followed its upward trajectory. At almost 30 years old, time is running out for the Brazilian, sometimes brilliant, sometimes caricature.
The blockbusters Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi overshadowed a major event of the summer: there was no Neymar soap opera. This is a first in his Parisian career, and undoubtedly in his entire career. At the end of the most spectacular transfer window in history, the “N” of the MNM is even the one that arouses the least expectations. Far from the frenzy triggered by his arrival in 2017 against a check for 222 million euros. In early May, the Brazilian stretched his lease at PSG until 2025 with, it seems, a pay cut. If he goes to the end, he will have spent more than half of his professional life in Paris.
But so far, it has mostly played at half-time (118 out of 225 possible matches). And the adventure retains a taste of unfinished business. His last season, certainly illuminated by a monumental performance in Munich in the Champions League, was even the least successful of the four.
At PSG as in Brazil, Neymar ignites and exasperates
Too many bad choices, too many provocations, too much frustration … In addition to his repeated injuries, which especially weighed on his first two exercises, Neymar missed more matches than Marco Verratti for disciplinary reasons (29 yellow cards, 4 red).
He is a pure player but he turns into a spoiled child and forces everything
When he is there, the artist alternates the brilliant and the caricatural. Ignites and exasperates. Digs its divisive side. This is also the case with Brazil. Brilliant and peaceful during the last Copa América lost in the final (three times elected man of the match), he fell back into his faults during the last international window: scorer in the first period against Peru, he then left the match until to receive a yellow synonymous with suspension. At the microphone of TV Globo, he then launched, in reference to the spikes linked to his alleged post-vacation overweight: “I broke a record [top scorer in the playoffs with 12 goals, ahead of Zico and Romario], I’m the best passer of the Seleção and, God willing, I will soon break Pelé’s record [77 goals]. Actually, I don’t know what to do to deserve more respect! But hey, that’s the way it is , I’m used to criticism. ”
These were all the more vindictive the next day, like those issued by the ex-international Neto, on the Band channel. A five-minute monologue of incredible violence recounting all the escapades, real and supposed, of number 10 auriverde. Reflection of the country’s football excesses. “With each attack, Neymar defends himself very badly, analyzes the Carioca writer Eduardo Lamas. So when things don’t go well, he throws the blame on others: referees, opponents, journalists, supporters… This victimization is the result of expectations that have always been on his shoulders. ” And that he assumes it alone in the national team whereas before him Pelé had Garrincha; Zico, Sócrates; Romário, Bebeto; Ronaldo, Rivaldo …
His “motivation” questioned
Paradoxically, one of the reasons which had pushed Neymar to leave Barcelona, it was this desire to get out of the shadow of Messi to become the banner of a project; he never ceased to regret his connection with the Argentine thereafter. The Golden Ball was then promised to him. Years go by and this prospect seems to be receding. “Does he still think he has a chance to win it? If we doubt it, maybe at the bottom too”, advance Édouard Cissé who remembers a discussion with Ronaldinho, rubbed shoulders with PSG (2001-2002 ) then crossed with OM in 2009 in the Champions League when he was playing in Milan, at the same age as Neymar today (29 years old): “He made me understand that he had won everything – a World Cup [2002 ], a Golden Ball  – and that he was full. Why more? What will it be used for? Neymar did not win that, but he won a lot of money … is not a problem. But his motivation? What is it? The worst thing for a footballer is to no longer want to respond to criticism on the pitch. “