The 26-year old has been subjected to countless memes and trolls for his on-field theatrics in Russia.
Brazil talisman Neymar was hugely criticized during his World Cup campaign for his theatrics. According to a statistic, Neymar had spent approximately 14 minutes down on the pitch throughout the entire tournament. People were ridiculing the Paris Saint-Germain star on social media because of how easily the player fell to the ground and how it looked like he was exaggerating his pain.
His side had a good tournament in Russia until the Round of 16 and people were expecting a lot more from the Samba Boys, but it was not meant to be as Brazil crashed out against Belgium in the quarterfinals even after putting up a spirited performance.
What sprung from this debacle was a hilarious social media challenge named the “Neymar Challenge” where people dropped to the ground as soon as the name Neymar was screamed out. There were people mocking and criticizing that Neymar was doing this only to get the referee’s attention and get the opponent in trouble, but the player himself has a contrasting opinion to this.
He came out to say that this was something that people would only understand if they also went through something like this. The force of the tackles sometimes is not clearly caught on camera and only the players truly feel the pain and that is what the player is hinting at here.
Neymar further added that he would stay for hours after the matches trying to mend the pain, “After the games, I stayed back for four or five hours putting on ice. It’s complicated, but if you haven’t experienced that you will never understand. I saw [the jokes], but I took them with humour.”
He explained that his style of football invites a lot of fouls which is inevitable. “I have to dribble past him, I have to try to do something and he will not allow me to go past and he will try to foul me. A lot of times I’m faster and lighter than other players and they tackle me and the referee is there for that.”
The forward has improved over the years, but shocked everyone when he left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain. Although, he has taken Ligue 1 in his stride, there has been a lot of criticism regarding its competitiveness. A lot is still expected of him, but he has to concentrate more on his football, rather than his on-field theatrics.