Neymar shows the strain with a flood of tears
No player in world football is under more pressure than Neymar. This fact, rather than any wrongly perceived, deep-lying desire to return to Barcelona, may explain his tears at the end of a Brazil press conference last week when coach Tite heaped praise on him.
By any measure, it was an unusual reaction, especially from a sportsman with Neymar’s experience, stature and apparent confidence. But this is an extraordinary season for the most expensive player ever, who is not just carrying his big-spending, highly ambitious club, Paris St-germain, despite the presence of other superstars, but also the hopes of expectant Brazil.
Neymar wants this status – hence his club move, which was not just about the money but a desire to be the main man and to emerge from the shadow of Lionel Messi. But now, with club and country, he has Messi-like expectation upon him. And it will be fascinating to see how the 25-year-old copes.