Revealed - This is why Neymar broke down in tears after Brazil's victory over Japan
It was quite the sight. Towards the end of an otherwise fairly routine press conference, after a comfortable 3-1 friendly win over Japan, Neymar became visibly emotional as, sat next to him, Brazil coach Tite issued a robust defence of his character.
The PSG striker briefly bowed his head into his manager’s lap before quickly darting away back towards the sanctity of the dressing room, struggling to hold back the tears.
Tite was moved to defend the £200m man following reports this week that the 25-year-old has fallen out with PSG manager Unai Emery. In France, there are rumours that Neymar is a trouble-maker, that his ego is dangerously close to running out of control. This, Tite insisted, was categorically untrue.
“People always said I had problems with Neymar. We are sick of hearing that. I can say he has personality and character,” began a passionate Tite.
“We are not perfect, we are human beings. Sometimes we react in the wrong way. I did that in my career. But we have to be careful when we talk about people’s character and nature.”
Sat next to him, it all proved too much for the player in question to take. Visibly tired with playing the role of talisman for club and country, he made his excuses and left.
Earlier in the day, before he sat himself down next to Tite in the darkened press room, Neymar had at least tried to defend himself.
“I had a great welcome [in Paris]. Everyone treated me with care and respect,” Neymar told the Brazilian journalists immediately after the match had finished, during which he had scored one penalty and missed another. Gabriel Jesus and Marcelo grabbed the other goals, in front of Lille’s barely hald-full Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
“Any move to a new place of work has difficulties, it takes a while, but it also depends on people at the club to make adaptation quicker. That’s what happened to me, I adapted quickly.
“I talked to Tite, this is something that has hurt me little by little. I don’t like made up stories. My trouble is with part of the press. It is not against everyone. It is against those that think they know it all, but they don’t. I have no issue with Cavani, no issue with the coach. On the contrary, I came to PSG with his support.”
But what was Neymar expecting? No longer is he playing in the shadow – or under the wing – of the great Lionel Messi at Barcelona. Now he is the main man, the most expensive footballer in the history of the sport, and it is so only natural his every move will be scrutinised by fans and pundits alike. He may not like made up stories but he will have to get used to them.
What are the stories in question? Namely that Neymar has taken issues with Emery’s pre-match preparation, in particular his studious video sessions. The backpages in France have been dominated with tales of Emery putting together private instructions for his main man, only to be rebuffed.
And, as well as the stories, there are the facts. A few weeks back the Brazilian was made to apologise to strike partner Edinson Cavani after the pair had a heated argument on the pitch over who would take a penalty-kick during a match against Lyon. Cavani was the designated penalty taker and sources close to the club quickly made clear Emery’s fury.
Finally, it seems, while away on international duty with Brazil but still in the foreign country of France, Neymar wobbled.
“We should be talking about the character, the nature and the great heart that Neymar has,” Tite added as his sobbing player slunk away. This is undoubtedly the biggest test of his career to date.
Independent News Service