SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — Neymar used a sponsor's ad to admit he
exaggerated some of his reactions after being fouled during the World
Cup in Russia. The video, published Sunday and broadcast on several
Brazilian TV networks, features the striker accepting criticism for the
first time and promising to pick himself up.
The striker scored two goals in the tournament and was not too
disappointing until his team got knocked out by Belgium in the
quarter-finals, but fans and players have spoken much more about his
theatrics on the pitch, which included dives, rolling and frequent
arguing with referees.
"You may think I exaggerate. And sometimes I do exaggerate. But the
truth is I suffer on the pitch," Neymar said in the ad sponsored by
personal care products maker Gillette.
Since Brazil's elimination, Neymar only spoke about the defeat in
Russia via Instagram. In the ad he tried to explain why he did not
speak right after the Belgium game, which fostered even more
criticism of his behaviour at home.
"When I leave without giving interviews it is not because I only want
the victory laurels. It is because I still haven't learned to disappoint
you. When I look impolite, it is not because I am a spoiled kid. It is
because I have not learned how to be frustrated," the player said.
Neymar said his football style is akin to a boy's that "sometime
charms the world, sometimes irritates the whole world."
''I fight to keep that boy alive inside of me, but not on the pitch," he
"You may think I fall too much," Neymar continued. "But the truth is I
did not fall. I fell apart," he said, in a reference to Brazil's
quarter-finals elimination against Belgium. "That hurts more than
any step on an operated ankle."
The piece ends with Neymar's pledge to be a new man less than a
month after Brazil was knocked out of the World Cup.
"I took long to accept your criticism. I took long to look at myself in
the mirror and become a new man," Neymar said. "I fell, but only who
falls can pick himself up."
Neymar ends his ad asking fans to make a choice.
"You can keep casting stones. Or throw these stones away and help
me stand. When I stand, all of Brazil stands with me," he said.
On July 20, at his first public appearance after the World Cup, Neymar
did not talk about his exaggerations. Instead, he said he wasn't
upset with critics that made fun of his theatrics in Russia.
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