Neymar Says His Social Life Does Not Affect Performance on the Pitch

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar poses as he arrives at his birthday party in Paris on February 4, 2019. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar says his social life does not impact on his performances on the pitch.

The forward has been out of action since January with a fractured metatarsal. Last month, he had an extravagant party to celebrate his 27th birthday, and he was recently filmed dancing back in Brazil, where he is continuing his recovery:

Esporte Interativo @Esp_Interativo

O Carnaval do @neymarjr tá indo MUITO BEM, e o seu? 😂🎉 Crédito: Instagram Memes Neymar https://t.co/MSSgoruSbh

However, he told Globo Esporte (h/t ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson):

"I do not think that my social life hinders my performance on the pitch. In fact, I even find it funny that what I do off the pitch gets compared with what I do on it.

"My statistics on the pitch are still very good. I said back during the [2016] Olympics that 'my personal life is my personal life.' I will keep going, doing what I think I should do, because it is me—my business.

"On the pitch, I can be questioned—[journalists] are there to talk about my performances. You can talk about that. Away from the pitch, I will take care of myself. If I want to do it, I will do it—my life is mine, I am 27."

The Brazilian added that he does not go out ahead of games so he can "rest up for optimum performance," and he said he is not motivated by criticism or praise: "My performances are not because I think people will speak badly of me, or well of meit is because I want to be good. That is what I do, I play footballI love it."

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar poses with his crutches as he arrives at his birthday party in Paris on February 4, 2019. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record €222 million fee. Though he helped Barca win two titles in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League once during his four seasons at the club, there were some at the Camp Nou who seemingly took issue with his active social life.

According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Marca), then-Barcelona assistant boss Juan Carlos Unzue told Neymar to "focus on his football" in a training-ground disagreement in May 2017, several months before his departure.

There has been little to doubt when it comes to his performances in Paris, as he has scored 48 goals and laid on 27 assists in 53 matches.

What has stopped him reaching the heights he's capable of at PSG is injury, as he missed the final months of last season with the same issue that is currently keeping him out. As such, he's played just one Champions League knockout match for the Parisians.

Injuries have also hampered his pursuit of the Ballon d'Or—he finished 12th in last year's voting—but he said he is not prioritising individual success over team achievements:

"I do not think you need to be voted the best [player] in the world. Even geniuses do not win the Ballon d'Or. If it does not happen, it is not the end of the world for me, nor will it erase what I have accomplished.

"It is an important award, which everyone dreams of. However, my aim, more than anything, is to win the World Cup—I dream of that every day."

He won't get another shot at the World Cup until 2022, but he can still contribute to PSG's success this season as he's expected to return in April.  


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