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Football: The Neymar crash – WELT

Neymar (32) has a special and characteristic painting hanging in his home in Mangaratiba, a luxury property near Rio de Janeiro. On it you can see a face, half Batman, half Joker. He likes to tell his friends that for his family he is Batman – the indomitable superhero. For others who view him critically, the Joker. The one who wastes his talent through his foolish behavior.

Neymar between two worlds. Will he go down in history as a great world star? Or did he miss exactly this step? He had the talent to catch up with Lionel Messi (36) and Cristiano Ronaldo (39). But he never took the final step in his career. As a result, he is now even ridiculed in his homeland. Nobody believes that he will lead Brazil to the World Cup title in 2026.

While Messi and Ronaldo subordinate everything to football and family, the Brazilian enjoys life and causes scandals. He was not professional enough to become the new Pelé († 82) as many had hoped of him.

“I have told him several times that it is important to care about what happens on the pitch. A footballer should not appear in the media more often about what he does outside the field,” says Brazil legend Zico (70).

“Neymar has more passion for other things”

Jorge Jesus (69), Neymar’s coach at al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, added: “Cristiano Ronaldo has more passion for football and therefore knows how to set priorities. Neymar has more passion for other things and puts private matters first.”

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Neymar was content to be a great player, to become the best Brazilian of his generation. But nothing more in the end. What they resent him in his home country – despite his 79 goals for the Seleção, which saw him replace Pelé as the record goalscorer.

After the World Cup qualifier in Cuiabá against Venezuela (1-1) on October 13, 2023, a fan threw popcorn at him after a poor performance – which is a maximum penalty in the country of the record world champion and has a special meaning. In Brazil, people who promise a lot but don’t deliver are called “pipoqueiro”. In German: popcorn seller. There’s a bang when he makes popcorn, but there’s nothing really sensible in the bag.

The bearer of hope has become an attractive figure in Brazil. Because after his announcements that he would win the sixth World Cup title with the Seleção and failed to do so, he moved to Saudi Arabia last summer because of the money – instead of fulfilling his contract with Paris St-Germain.

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Or because he caused a stir again, as he did on his birthday on February 5th: this time through his boasting. Neymar wore Louis Vuitton sports shoes worth over 2,000 euros and an earring in white gold (18K) set with diamonds. In Brazil people are gossiping: Neymar is fed up and just wants to shine by wearing luxury goods instead of struggling for a comeback after his serious knee injury (cruciate ligament/meniscus).

Significantly overweight

A week earlier, Neymar had already been noticed as being significantly overweight at world champion legend Romário (58)’s lavish birthday party. There was a hail of harsh criticism.

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He had already made headlines in December when he organized a luxury cruise between Christmas and New Year’s Eve on which 4,000 guests enjoyed around 30 concerts over several days – including Neymar, who attended the parties on crutches.

2014 World Cup quarter-final against Colombia: Neymar lies on the ground screaming after a foul. The tournament was then over for him

Source: picture alliance/Sven Simon/Franz Waelischmiller/SVEN SIMON

Neymar often made a dribble in his life, which – in addition to his numerous injuries – cost him his great career. After all, he has gilded his skills. His assets are estimated at 799 million euros. At his new club al-Hilal he collects 437,700 euros a day for a two-year contract.

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“The injuries he had didn’t help him. But his head isn’t 100 percent focused on football,” says ex-Bayern and Leverkusen star Zé Roberto (49).

Neymar also has a full scandal file with rape reports, infidelities and paternity lawsuits. This is demonstrated by a small selection:

► On January 21st, the Hungarian ex-model Gabriella Gaspar filed a paternity lawsuit in a family court in São Paulo. The child is said to have been conceived during a one-night stand in Bolivia in 2013. Gaspar is demanding a monthly maintenance payment of 30,000 euros – retroactively for the past ten years. Neymar probably won’t be able to avoid a DNA test.

► Separation from his partner Bruna Biancardi in November 2023. Their daughter Mavie was born on October 6th. But by then numerous affairs had already shattered the partnership.

► In the same month, a former domestic worker sued Neymar at the labor court in Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris and demanded 368,000 euros. The Brazilian stated that she worked a total of 70 hours seven days a week, seven days a week, seven days a week during his time at PSG between January 2021 and October 2022, without working papers. “Le Parisien” wrote about working conditions that bordered on “modern slave labor.”

The glorious three: Neymar (r.) played with Lionel Messi (m.) and Kylian Mbappe at Paris St. Germain until summer 2023

Source: picture alliance/Matthias Koch

► During his time at PSG, the Brazilian Najila Trindade filed a lawsuit against Neymar for rape in São Paulo on June 1, 2019. Accordingly, he is said to have grabbed the model two weeks earlier in Paris. Two months later the case was closed due to a lack of evidence.

There had already been similar allegations against Neymar from a Nike employee. The sporting goods manufacturer then ended its collaboration with the superstar in 2020.

► He also had to pay 5.5 million euros back during his time at FC Barcelona due to tax evasion.

He also caused excitement on the pitch. Like his case at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, for which he was ridiculed around the world. He was also criticized for his closeness to ex-President Jair Bolsonaro (68). Neymar regularly advertised for the right-wing populist.

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In 2017, PSG paid a world record fee of 222 million euros to FC Barcelona. Today Neymar is only worth a fifth of that. His contract in Saudi Arabia runs until 2025. What’s next for him?

According to information from this editorial team, he is considering a move to the USA, even though he was recently linked to his former club FC Santos. A return to Europe is out of the question for him. The only question is whether Neymar will ever really get going again. Because his current knee injury is the 15th major injury in his career.

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“It’s complex. Because of his previous injuries, he will go through a long rehabilitation process, he is aware of that,” says national team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar (47). According to information from those close to Neymar, only the vertebral fracture that he suffered in the quarter-finals against Colombia (2-1) at the 2014 World Cup is comparable in impact. At that time there was a risk that Neymar would have had to end his career due to paralysis.

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