Former Brazil star Juninho has hit out at Neymar, stating the Paris Saint-Germain star ‘needs to question himself and grow up’. The Olympique Lyon sporting director says that his countryman’s decision to sign for PSG in a record €225m deal in 2017 because his home nation’s culture of greed.
The now 28-year-old became the most expensive player in the world three years ago in the hope to step out of the shadow of Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona. Three seasons later PSG has won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, but the club and Neymar failed to bring success in the Champions League .
It is now believed that Neymar is done in Paris and that he wants to return to Barcelona to once again pair up with Messi and Luis Suarez for the famous ‘MSN’ attack. Juninho accuses Neymar of making a bad decision and according to the former Brazil international that is because he grew up in a country that puts money above everything else.
“In Brazil we are taught to care only about money, but in Europe they have a different mentality,” the 45-year-old told The Guardian. “Unconsciously I made a career plan because I wanted to go to another big club in Brazil, and not to just play for sport. I was taught to go to who would pay me the most. That is the Brazilian way.”
“Look at Neymar. He moved to PSG just because of money. PSG gave everything to him, everything he wanted, and now he wants to leave before the end of his contract. But now is the time to give back, to show gratitude.”
“It’s an exchange, you see. Neymar needs to give everything he can on the pitch, to show total dedication, responsibility and leadership. The problem is that the establishment in Brazil has a culture of greed and always want more money. This is what we were taught and what we learned.”
At the end of the interview Juninho pointed out that not only Neymar was to blame, but the Brazilian culture. “It is simply what he learned,” added Juninho. “I need to differentiate between Neymar as a player and Neymar as a person. As a player, he is in the top three in the world, at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi.”
“He is fast, tough, can score and make assists as a real number 10. But as a person, I think he is guilty because he needs to question himself and grow up. At the moment, however, he is just doing what life taught him to do.”