Neymar has claimed that he is the subject of double standards when he plays for Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil.
The 26-year-old, who joined the the French champions from Barcelona for a world-record €222 million last summer, was voted Ligue 1 player of the season in his debut campaign in France.
However, a metatarsal injury suffered in February meant that Neymar had to fight his way back to fitness before this summer’s World Cup in Russia, where he ultimately scored two goals as Brazil went home at the quarterfinal stage.
Via Asia One, PSG’s No. 10 told Agence France Presse (AFP) at the Red Bull Neymar Jr’s Five (five-a-side) tournament at the Neymar Praia Grande institute that it added to pre-existing pressures.
“No,” Neymar said when asked if the pressure was too much for him.
“It is true that when it comes to me, there are double standards. I have been aware of this responsibility, not only for Brazil, but also in club football, since I was 17 or 18 years old.
“I have prepared myself to handle this pressure and I know that when the results are not what they should be then that pressure increases.”
Like with PSG, Neymar was the subject of numerous heavy tackles during the World Cup and much was made of his reaction to those challenges.
The player himself has since joked about the Neymar Challenge that is sweeping the internet but believes that criticism was “exaggerated” and that some of his aggressors were let off lightly.
“People were faster to criticise the one being fouled than the one doing the fouling,” the South American said. “I went to the World Cup to play, to beat the opposition, not to get kicked. The criticism of me was exaggerated, but I am a big boy, I am used to dealing with this kind of thing.”
“I cannot be the referee and play at the same time but there are times I wish I could.”
Neymar admitted that Brazil’s World Cup failure left him feeling low but that he is now over that disappointment after spending time with his family and friends.
“I would not go as far as to say I did not want to play again but I did not want to see a ball or to see any more football played,” the Santos youth academy graduate said. “I was in mourning. I was really sad about it but sadness passes. I have my son, my family, my friends and they do not want to see me moping around. I have got more reason to be happy than sad.”