Neymar is one of the best Brazilian players in activity, it’s been over a decade.
Not one of the best. The best.
He is the best known and most famous footballer in the country, owner of the number 10 of the Brazilian team and of Paris Saint-Germain, one of the strongest clubs on the planet.
Fast, skillful, smart, creative, top scorer. In shape, it is almost impossible to undo it.
It shone at Santos (beating the Libertadores), it shone at Barcelona (winning the Champions League as co-top scorer and the Club World Cup). It still seeks maximum shine in PSG (the Champions are missing and, if it comes, the Worlds) and in the national team (it’s Olympic gold, but still missing Copa America and World Cup).
One of the big problems of Neymar, in addition to his reputation as a cai-cai (justified, but he’s also beaten a lot) and losing his temper in some matches (which earns him cards), is not dealing well with the criticism directed at him by the media.
Clearly “Ney” is annoyed when the news is not favorable.
Last week, after publications realized that he would be overweight, Neymar got angry to the point that, in an interview with Globo after the victory over Peru in the Qualifiers, let off steam, in a mixture of irritation and nonconformity.
“I don’t know what I do with this shirt anymore [da seleção] for the guys to respect Neymar. This is from you, reporters, commentators, and others as well. Sometimes I don’t even like to talk in interviews anymore.”
Asked about what caused discomfort, he was evasive and said: “I’ll let the guys think a little there.”
What Neymar does not understand is that the football player (and anyone who carries out an activity seen by thousands of people) is always subject to praise or criticism, whether from the media or spectators. It is part, it is inseparable from the profession he exercises.
I myself have already praised him, when writing the texts “Recovered, Neymar changes the frill for objectivity”, “Where CR7 and Messi crash and Neymar is better than them” e “Now an attacking midfielder, Neymar starts the season with ten goals in ten games”, and I criticized him, as in “Neymar and cockroach blood”, “There is football besides Neymar” e “Neymar heads for five years without a moment of glory in football”.
As the presenter and commentator José Calil correctly quoted over the weekend on Transamerica radio, to silence critics the player must respond on the field; if you play well, score goals and/or assist, no one will care if you are “fat”.
As Neymar, even though he is almost 30 years old, insists on not understanding this reality, perhaps a friend of his, younger, can teach him.
Kylian Mbappé, 22 years old French, already world cup champion, an example of combining ambition and humility, addressed the subject in documentary “The Players” (The Players), from Uefa, the governing body of football in Europe.
“Key players are always generating high expectations, and I have never shied away from that. Of course, when things don’t work out, you have to face criticism. Knowing it’s part of the job, you don’t take it personally.”
And before anyone came to write or say something negative, he anticipated himself on social media, right after the elimination, making a self-criticism.
“Very difficult to turn the page. The sadness is immense after this elimination, we were unable to reach our goal. Sorry about that penalty. I wanted to help the team, but I couldn’t. It will be difficult to sleep, but it’s the dangers of this sport that I love so much.”
Here’s how you can, even should, do it.
Instead of complaining or whining when there’s a bad moment, when the phase doesn’t help, when a performance falls short, or when a mistake determines failure, the thoughtful athlete accepts, lifts his head and follows.
Here’s a tip for Neymar.