“It is very difficult to be Neymar.” Edu Gaspar, ex-coordinator of the Brazilian teams, justified Canarinha’s maximum reference, after the defeat in Russia 2018 against Belgium in the quarterfinals. Four years earlier, in Brazil 2014, when he opposed the throne of Ayrton Senna as the great idol, the São Paulo player was left out of the World Cup due to a fracture in the lumbar vertebra. In the Copa América 2019, he had no revenge: another injury, this time in the ligament of the right ankle. Every time he put on the shirt of the Canarinha in the largest selection, the coin fell tails. On the way to 10, a new America’s Cup appeared at his home. He did not expect it, nor did he want it, but he tries again. And true to his pedigree, he scored in the premiere against Venezuela, also against Peru. He already has 68 goals for Brazil and is nine from Pelé’s record.
“My dream was always to wear this shirt. I never imagined reaching these numbers ”, began the 10th, at the foot of the field, at the end of the duel against Peru. However, his voice trailed off. He couldn’t hold back the tears. A surprising image if you attend to his usual fuss and laughter that you never know if they are laughing or teasing. “For me,” he added, “it’s even exciting because I’ve been through a lot in these two years. Things that are very difficult and complicated ”. In Brazil, the echo of Edu Gaspar’s words returned. In 2019, he was reported rape by model Najila Trindade. The case was closed for lack of evidence. This year, the Nike company confirmed that it ended its sponsorship relationship with Neymar because the soccer player refused to cooperate in an investigation “in good faith into credible allegations of misconduct presented by an employee,” according to the American company.
Neymar defended himself on social networks. “I never had a relationship with that person or the opportunity to speak with her and find out the true reasons for her pain,” said the PSG forward. Today, Neymar has a contract with Puma. In any case, he never lost the support of the Parisian club – he renewed his contract until 2025 – or of the Brazilian team. Tite is delivered to Neymar. Protects you on and off the field. “I do not know how far Neymar can go … I do a lot of effort so that he is healthy, so that he does not get injured and so that he has maturity,” said the coach.
Tite’s prayer is not a minor detail, the injuries have overshadowed the Brazilian’s performance. In the last four seasons, he has suffered 16 and missed a total of 78 games. In the Parisian club, in any case, they do not doubt him. In fact, they gave him the key to the team again. Not only the extension of the contract, but also the one to tuck him in the locker room. “Ney has to have an objective”, they assure in the surroundings of the paulista. And, the same sources, give an example of the 2019-2020 campaign when Neymar led PSG to the Champions League final for the first time in its history. “That year, when the competition was halted by the pandemic, Neymar traveled to his home in Rio. There he followed a very strict training plan. He was motivated with the Champions League ”, they add.
The 2020-2021 season was uncomfortable for Neymar. Injuries stalked her, four (19 games lost) and the team’s poor performance that left PSG without a League and without a Cup, of course also without a Champions League. Busy, the 10 wanted to rest. Or, at least, not take the America’s Cup too seriously. But, when he least expected (wanted), Jair Bolsonaro and Conmebol brought the Cup to Brazil. And more responsibility for Neymar. “We did not know if there was going to be the Copa América. From the beginning, we highly respect our hierarchies. We are never going to say no to the Brazilian team jersey. It makes me happy to play for Brazil, to represent my country and my family. We live in a very unusual time around the world. Not only here, and being a mirror for someone is a great joy. I hope everyone who likes football likes it ”, concluded Neymar.
He is not the only one smiling. “I, like all Brazilians, am always happy when I see him play football. Today he took another step towards my scoring record with the national team. And, with the same joy that I have had since I saw him play for the first time, I am encouraging him to arrive ”, published Pelé.
Neymar chases Pelé. Along the way, however, he has to drive away his ghosts.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.