Neymar Says He Grew Up Idolising David Beckham: 'I'm a Big Fan'

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2020

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 01: Neymar Jr of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Montpellier HSC at Parc des Princes on February 01, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has said he's a big fan of David Beckham and "always followed" the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder.

Beckham, 44, retired at the Parc des Princes, where he made 14 appearances across all competitions for Les Parisiens, in 2013.

Neymar, 28, sat down for an interview alongside Beckham with Otro (h/t Goal's Chris Burton) and opened up about his admiration of the Englishman and the influence he had on his own game:

"I'm a big fan. I remember when I was younger I always followed all types of players, all the big players.

"I followed David because of the way he kicked the ball, because of the amazing passes he gave, because of his goals, because of his determination on the pitch. So, I always followed him.

"For the person he is, the football he played, I think everything came from David."

The pair could still form a working relationship in the future after Neymar reiterated his intent to one day sign with Major League Soccer outfit Inter Miami, who begin their inaugural season in 2020:

Beckham joined Real from United in July 2003 when Neymar was 11. The Brazilian later spent a few days on trial with Los Blancos in March 2006 but opted to return to boyhood club Santos, per Hugo Cerezo of Marca.

Real's squad featured five Brazil internationals that campaign: Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Julio Baptista, Cicinho and Robinho, another player whom Neymar has said he idolised as a youngster, per Goal.

The €222 million signing could yet eclipse the careers of both legends before his playing days are finished, though it could be partly thanks to the trail Beckham blazed that he's in that position.

Neymar noted it went beyond just Beckham's playing style:

Goal @goal

🗣 Neymar on David Beckham: "I copied quite a few of his haircuts! "Many, we model ourselves after him. I think he is one of the most stylish people in the world, so we need to copy him. "We are not as handsome as him, but we try to copy him!" 💇‍♂️ https://t.co/wkWf801fEt

Whereas the South American is a more direct threat with the ball at his feet, Beckham was famed for his passing, crossing and set-piece majesty in particular. Both players have traits that could combine to create the dream winger.

Neymar first met "Becks" when he travelled to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in 2006, and his admiration of the 115-times capped England international has long been evident:

The PSG talisman is currently injured and has missed the team's last two games, but Neymar will hope to be back in contention when they travel to Dijon in the Coupe de France quarter-finals on Wednesday.