PSG Star Neymar Talks Mental Health, Says He Has 'Messed Up Several Times'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2019

LYON, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 22: Neymar Jr of PSG during the Ligue 1 match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on September 22, 2019 in Decines near Lyon, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has opened up on his mental health and said he has made mistakes in recent years.

The forward spoke to the Mirror's Hannah Britt about the importance of maintaining "good mental health" while recovering from injury.

"I think when you are mentally well things happen naturally," he said. "You are more likely to do the right things. If you are not so well, things will not happen the way you expect."

The Brazilian has had his share of injuries since moving to PSG from Barcelona in 2017.

In each of his first two seasons in Paris, he injured the fifth metatarsal on his right foot midway through, which means he has missed the most important periods of both campaigns. In June this year, he also suffered an ankle injury that kept him out of the Copa America, which Brazil went on to win without him.

Controversy has dogged him throughout 2019, too, and he conceded he has been at fault at times:

"Sometimes it's hard because you always have to be perfect and as a human being it is impossible.

"I messed up several times and recovering all the confidence I had has a high price, but I think it's normal for human beings to fail, it's part of life and due to these errors you grow and learn."

He spent the summer being heavily linked with a return to Barcelona and returned from pre-season training a week late.

Although his father said PSG knew of his prior commitments in Brazil, the club released a statement that said he did not have their permission to be absent from training.

In April, he was hit with a three-match UEFA Champions League ban for insulting match officials on social media after Manchester United knocked PSG out of the competition in the round of 16.

He was given a three-match domestic suspension for an incident the same month in which he had an altercation with a Rennes supporter after PSG lost the Coupe de France final:

Neymar added that by nature he's a reserved person, but not being open has not always served him well:

"It comes to a point where I end up frustrated, getting angry, exploding and not communicating in a correct way. I'm trying to improve on that.

"Whenever I have to have a certain conversation with someone, I try to talk. And I think this is doing me good."

The forward was also accused of raping a woman in a Paris hotel room on May 15, prompting an investigation by Brazilian police. Neymar denied the allegations made by Najila Trindade, and the case was dropped because of insufficient evidence in the summer.

Earlier in September, Trindade was indicted in Brazil on charges of procedural fraud, slanderous denunciation and extortion.

Following talk of an exit from PSG in the summer, Neymar has received a hostile reception from his own fans in recent weeks, with insulting banners and chants aimed at him in the Parc des Princes.

Now back to fitness following the ankle injury and back in the team after the transfer window closed with him still in the French capital, the 27-year-old has been on the pitch and winning games for PSG:

Ander Herrera, who joined the club in the summer from United, has backed him to win the Ballon d'Or in the near future:

Neymar has long been touted as a future winner of the award, but his injuries have limited his impact for club and country over the last two years.

He told Britt his aim was still to be the world's best player. Although beating the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to the Ballon d'Or is no mean feat, he unquestionably has the talent to challenge for it, and he's young enough to continue doing so for several more years.

If he is to realise that goal, though, remaining fit is paramount—lengthy layoffs are rare for Messi and Ronaldo, which allows them to contribute throughout the season and often find some of their best form at the most important times.

Keeping a cool head and avoiding suspensions will also help, so his willingness to work on his faults is a promising sign.

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