Neymar Made His Bed – Time To Lie In It5 min read
“Every match will be like an away game.”
So said Neymar after some rough treatment from his own Paris Saint-Germain supporters during the match against Strasbourg.
Er… hello? What the hell does the Brazilian expect?
Here’s a player, and not just any player let’s be clear about that, who joined the French side two seasons ago with a brief to turn them into Champions League winners.
Although his scoring record more than stands up to scrutiny, he’s been injured or unavailable for the big matches and, furthermore, hasn’t been backward in coming forward when speaking about the need to move back to Barcelona.
If you’re a supporter who pays a decent amount of your hard-earned to watch your team on a regular basis, then the very least you expect is to have 11 players that are committed to the cause. Not have your star man saying his best game was when his current club were on the receiving end of a 6-1 hammering, or how he misses his old team-mates, etc.
Neymar has upset the equilibrium of his side throughout this summer and surely isn’t stupid enough to believe that things would go back to normal immediately?
He needs to win the trust of the PSG faithful again, and a 92nd-minute overhead kick winner is a good enough start point to build from.
With Real Madrid – one of the teams who allegedly wanted to buy him – on the immediate horizon in the first game of this season’s Champions League group stage, now he has to be the leader whom the Parisiens signed him to be.
He’s run out of excuses, and as the old saying goes, you made your bed, now lie in it.
Fortunately for Neymar, he retains the affection of most of his team-mates and, importantly, coach Thomas Tuchel.
As the Brazilian left the pitch at the weekend, the German greeted him with a hug and a warm smile, and if nothing else that sets the right example for others to follow.
It’ll be a few weeks yet before everything settles down, but if Tuchel leads the way in press conferences and otherwise, players, staff and supporters will, gradually, follow suit.
After all, a team with Neymar in it is a great deal better than one without.
The challenge for the player at this point is to keep performing at such a high level as to make the chanting against him worthless.
Away teams like to quieten down a home crowd as quickly as possible in football matches, to stop the hosts feeding off of the energy that supporters provide.
If Neymar thinks every game will be like an away game for him, then he knows exactly what he has to do.