Neymar has used a sponsor’s television advert 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 24-year-old forward accepting criticism for the first time and promising to pick himself up.
Neymar 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 Gillette.
Neymar barges a teenager into a wall after being tackled during a post-World Cup five-a-side competition in Brazil
Since Brazil’s elimination, Neymar only spoke about the defeat in Russia via Instagram. In the advert, he tried to explain why he did not speak right after the Belgium game, which fostered 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,” Neymar said.
The Paris Saint Germain forward said his football style is akin to a boy’s that “sometime charms the world, sometimes irritates the whole world.”
“You may think I fall too much, 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.”