“I wouldn’t go as far as to say I didn’t want to play again but, I didn’t want to see a ball, or to see any more football played,” Neymar told AFP.
Brazil were beaten 2-1 in the last-eight of the tournament, after an own goal from Fernandinho and a goal from Kevin De Bruyne put Belgium ahead. They did respond, thanks to Renato Augusto’s header, but Tite’s team couldn’t find an equaliser and were on their way out.
“I was in mourning, I was really sad about it, but sadness passes, I have my son, my family, my friends and they don’t want to see me moping around. I’ve got more reason to be happy than sad,” said Neymar.
The 26-year old also played down reports that have linked him to a move to Real Madrid, saying ‘that’s all speculation from the press’.
“The guys who come up with these stories seem to know more about my life than I do. I won’t respond to this type of question because nothing happened,” he scoffed.
The Brazilian star moved from Barcelona to PSG for a world-record €222 million fee last year and had a foot injury that kept him out for most of the season, before returning to fitness to play for his national side in the World Cup. Neymar believes all the pressure though – for his club or country – does not weigh too heavily.
“No, all the great players feel pressure,” he said.
“It’s 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, 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.”
Neymar’s image was tarnished after many on social media criticised him for making a meal out of tackles and fouls at the World Cup, but he believes he should have been better protected.
“People were faster to criticise the one being fouled than the one doing the fouling,” he insisted.
“I went to the World Cup to play, to beat the opposition, not to get kicked. The criticism of me was exaggerated, but I’m a big boy, I’m used to dealing with this kind of thing.
“And I can’t be the referee and play at the same time, but there are times I wish I could.”
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