No matter what Neymar Jr. does, there will be criticism. The 28-year-old can be minding his own business, and someone will share a controversial take or opinion.
The newest person to attack the Brazil international is a fellow compatriot and current Olympique Lyonnais sporting director, Juninho. The 45-year-old spoke with The Guardian about racism, Brazil under President Jair Bolsonaro, and how Brazilians are taught to think about the money.
Reading through the article, Juninho tackles real-life issues. He states that there are “thousands of Geroge Floyd’s” in Brazil who fall victim to police brutality.
Juninho shares his frustration with the fake news cycle that has overtaken his country under Bolsonaro. Then adds his displeasure at how the Brazilian government has mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic.
All of this makes for a good read because it show’s someone angry and frustrated and for good reason. Then it begins to go off the rails a little bit when discussing how Brazilian players are programmed to chase money.
Instead of using the phrase “some players” to make it a generic statement, Juninho does the opposite. He uses one player to make an example out of them, and of course, the former midfielder chooses Neymar.
“Look at Neymar. He moved to PSG just because of money. PSG gave everything to him, everything he wanted, and now he wants to leave before the end of his contract. But now is the time to give back, to show gratitude. It’s an exchange, you see,” Juninho said.
“Neymar needs to give everything he can on the pitch to show total dedication, responsibility, and leadership. The problem is that the establishment in Brazil has a culture of greed and always want more money. This is what we were taught and what we learned.”
Lyon’s sporting director doesn’t stop there. The 45-year-old went on to say that he can separate Neymar, the player he thinks is third-best in the world from the person, who is pursuing the money, which is what life taught him.
“It is simply what he learned. I need to differentiate between Neymar as a player and Neymar as a person. As a player, he is in the top three in the world, at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi. He is fast, tough, can score and make assists as a real No 10,” Juninho said. “But as a person, I think he is guilty because he needs to question himself and grow up. At the moment, however, he is just doing what life taught him to do.”
Again, Juninho could’ve gone generic with his example, but didn’t. Perhaps he will think that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is “doing what life taught him” by securing a big payday. Athletes have a short window to maximize their value and worth, especially those from a rough upbringing.
What started as a heartfelt interview from Juninho, ended with an unnecessary shot at Neymar.
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