Neymar reveals he almost quit football

By Sports Desk January 16, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar revealed he considered retiring from football.

Neymar is regarded as one of the best players in the world, but he is a maligned figure due to his theatrics on the pitch and lifestyle away from the game.

The most expensive player in history after joining PSG from LaLiga giants Barcelona for €222million in 2017, Neymar admitted criticism has had an impact on him.

"I will never lose the passion for football, but I have had moments that I did want to stop playing," the 28-year-old told Gaffer Magazine. "Once, I reached a point of asking myself why I should keep playing if they do not like it.

"I used to go home hot-headed and then remembered everything I've done to get me here.

"The love I have for football and all those things just calmed me down and brought me back to reality. Because, I'm very lucky. Truly. I have achieved a lot of things in my career that made me and my family incredibly happy.

"Just debuting for Santos FC, winning the first title with Santos, winning the Libertadores Cup was super important as well. Joining Barcelona was a dream of mine since I was a kid, winning the Champions League, my arrival in Paris. These moments will always remain special to me."

Neymar added: "I have never felt pressure. Quite the contrary, I am a person that can easily manage pressure; being the number 10 of Brazil's national team, the number 10 at PSG and just being Neymar.

"I think I take it well but at the same time I know my commitment and I'm incredibly thankful to be representing teams such as PSG and Brazil. I know that when I play I have to do it differently, I have to give it 100 per cent because that's what everyone expects."

Neymar has scored three goals in eight Ligue 1 appearances for PSG this season, while he has netted 10 times across all competitions.

The Brazilian forward played the entire match as PSG moved top of the table with a 1-0 win at Angers on Saturday.

Related items

  • Barcelona 3-0 Elche: Messi's second-half special cuts gap to Atletico Barcelona 3-0 Elche: Messi's second-half special cuts gap to Atletico

    Barcelona narrowed the gap to LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid to five points as Lionel Messi's second-half double helped them to a 3-0 win over Elche.

    Ronald Koeman's men had missed a chance to take advantage of Atletico's slip-up against Levante at the weekend when they were held at home by struggling Cadiz.

    They were not at their best on Wednesday in a clash with another relegation-threatened side in Elche, but Messi's delightful double and a stylish Jordi Alba effort secured a crucial win.

    Barca remain third in the table having played a game more than Atletico, whose lead over second-placed Real Madrid is just three points.

    Francisco Trincao forced Edgar Badia into a close-range save in the second minute and, after Lucas Boye had spurned a gilt-edged chance at the other end, the Portugal international was denied a stunning goal by the Elche goalkeeper.

    Trincao jinked past two Elche defenders after latching on to a pass from Messi, only to see Badia produce a fine diving save with his left hand.

    Badia was required again to keep out Frenkie de Jong's header from a floated Messi free-kick, the frustration clear among Koeman and his players as parity was preserved.

    That parity lasted just three minutes into the second half, Messi's shot squirming into the net despite Badia getting a hand to it following a superb flicked return pass from Martin Braithwaite.

    Messi's second was similarly aesthetically pleasing, De Jong finding him at the end of the slaloming run before the Argentine delicately dinked the ball over Badia.

    And the game was put beyond any doubt in the 73rd minute when Braithwaite nodded Messi's excellent cross-field ball into the path of Alba to dispatch with an acrobatic effort.

    The scoreline could have been made more emphatic late on, but substitute Antoine Griezmann cracked the crossbar from Sergino Dest's low cross.

  • Bayern star Musiala explains choosing Germany over England at international level Bayern star Musiala explains choosing Germany over England at international level

    Bayern Munich rising star Jamal Musiala has chosen to play for Germany instead of England at international level.

    The 17-year-old could make his senior debut as early as next month, with Germany head coach Joachim Low expected to name a large squad for their three World Cup qualifiers against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia.

    Musiala was born in Germany but moved to England when he was seven when his mother began a degree at Southampton University. He spent eight years in Chelsea's academy and played at youth level for England and Germany before returning to Bayern in 2019.

    The 17-year-old has since broken into Hansi Flick's first-team plans and has already made 25 appearances in all competitions this season, mostly as a substitute. He scored in Bayern's 4-1 Champions League last-16 first-leg win over Lazio on Tuesday to become the youngest English player to score in the competition and the second-youngest of any nationality to get a goal in the knockout phase.

    Speaking to The Athletic about his deliberations over his international future, Musiala said: "I've thought about this question a lot. What is best for my future? Where do I have more chances to play?

    "In the end, I just listened to the feeling that over a long period of time kept telling me that it was the right decision to play for Germany, the land I was born in. Still, it wasn't an easy decision for me.

    "England is home for me. It is difficult to find words for what England means for me because I have so many memories connected to very positive emotions.

    "They [Chelsea and England's Football Association] are family for me, and I am sure that I remain a member of the family, even though I'm no longer there. I wouldn't be where I am right now without the trust and support of Chelsea and the FA, throughout the hard times and fun times. It wasn't always easy, but they made me the player I am now."

    Low, who met with Musiala in recent weeks along with national team director Oliver Bierhoff, said of the news: "Obviously, we cannot give him any guarantees at the moment. That wouldn't be right.

    "I think we will call him up in March because we will have a bigger squad than usual due to having three games in quick succession. We will be able to get to know one another better during this time.

    "I'm pleased that Jamal has decided to play for Germany in the future. I see a lot of potential in him."

  • Australia join Qatar in withdrawing from Copa America Australia join Qatar in withdrawing from Copa America

    Australia have joined Qatar in withdrawing from the 2021 Copa America.

    The Socceroos and the 2022 World Cup hosts had been scheduled to contest the tournament, due to be held in Argentina and Colombia in June and July, as invited guests of CONMEBOL.

    However, the postponement of the remainder of the second round of AFC qualifying for the World Cup until June because of the COVID-19 pandemic has led both teams to pull out.

    Qatar, who announced their withdrawal on Tuesday, are competing in the qualifying process to secure a place in the 2023 Asian Cup. They are top of Group E and will seal their spot if they win it.

    Australia are top of Group B and on course to qualify for the Asian Cup and progress to the third round of the World Cup qualification progress.

    "The Socceroos' players and staff were greatly looking forward to the unique opportunity of playing in the Copa America and it is unfortunate that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to attend in 2021," Australia coach Graham Arnold said.

    "On behalf of the team I thank CONMEBOL for the invitation, which would have presented our team with a fantastic opportunity to test itself against some of the world's best."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.