Superstar Neymar is still being tipped by many to inherit the throne from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but a high-profile football personality feels the Brazil international has failed to live up to the hype so far, and believes the player left FC Barcelona for the wrong reasons.
LaLiga commentator, award-winning author and journalist Graham Hunter has interviewed some of the biggest names in world football, including the likes of Messi, Ronaldinho and the aforementioned Neymar.
Soccer Laduma was lucky enough to catch up with the Scotsman earlier this week to discuss the past year Neymar has had since leaving the Catalan club for Paris Saint-Germain, including his disappointing 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign with Brazil.
Hunter went into great detail about the player[s antics in Russia, and claimed that the 26-year-old moved on from the Blaugrana for the wrong reasons.
“I find him a real disappointment,” he told Soccer Laduma (you can read the full interview in this week’s newspaper, issue 1084).
“It’s obvious that he has magic and while I was often willing not to defend him, but to argue against people who thought that he did on the pitch was provoke, or some people were blinded by the fact that he does exaggerate and cheat and that it is distasteful, but that does not take away, and this is one of our duties as journalists, from the fact that generally, across his career, he has been bullied and kicked.
“In my view, he was under-protected in Spain. It wasn’t a scandal, but I did not think the referees or the way the general media treated him was right.
“But right now, we haven’t seen a consistent burst and the best of that player. It should really have started when he was 24 years old. While he was free to make a choice to leave Barcelona, but as long as you’re leaving for the right reasons and to the right club.
“Now, there’s no question at all that he was probably leaving for the wrong reasons and that he was almost certainly going to the wrong league.
“Also, some things that we saw during the World Cup owes to the fact that he was injured. It was a bad injury. We expected him to show flair in France.”
Neymar has been heavily linked with Real Madrid over the past year, although it appears that he will remain in France for the 2018/19 campaign.