Why Neymar will want to forget last season’s nightmare in a hurry

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain forward, Neymar Jr. has had one of the poor records in the ended season that was marred with low and highs in and off the field that negatively affected his career in a manner that he would not want a repeat of.

A reoccurrence of an injury, two separate suspensions for insulting a referee and hitting a fan, losing Brazil’s captaincy and now an accusation of rape, the world’s most expensive player had a season to forget for club and country, on and off the field.

After more than three months sidelined with a foot problem, his 69th-minute goal guides Brazil to a 2-0 World Cup warm-up friendly victory over eventual champions Croatia on June 3.

His country Brazil was knocked out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals to Belgium on July 6. He’s been a victim of boos from a home crowd watching on a big screen in Rio every time he rolls on the ground, becoming an internet joke for his theatrical efforts.

He scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 thumping of Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League group stages two months into the club season on October 3 described as ‘sensational’ by head coach Thomas Tuchel.

He failed to make the top 10 of the shortlist for the first time since 2013 finishing in 12th place as Croatia’s World Cup winning-midfielder Luka Modric took the award in a ceremony held in the Brazilians’s adopted home city Paris on December 3.

With less than half an hour to play and PSG leading Strasbourg 1-0 on January 23 in the second round of the French Cup he limped off the Parc de Princes field with a similar foot injury to the one he suffered 13 months earlier.

His return date was set for the Champions League quarter-finals but the Parisians had to face a resurgent Manchester United with new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the last 16 before then.

Despite being in the recovering process from the metatarsal problem he was filmed and photographed dancing at both Salvador and Rio carnivals in early March.

Forced to watch in the stands as PSG are knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United on March 6 he told officials to “Go fuck yourselves” on Instagram afterwards which saw him fined for the sediments.

Back at home papers reported in March that Spanish tax authorities were investigating the bonus he earned when he extended his Barcelona contract in 2017.

Officials were looking into whether the Brazilian paid tax related to his extra payments and his record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, the daily paper said.

Six weeks after his referee rant on social media Neymar is handed a three-match suspension by UEFA for his insults which rule him out of PSG’s opening fixtures in next season’s European campaign.

Two days later, PSG is beaten on penalties in the French Cup final by Rennes on April 28. He scores his side’s second goal but hits a supporter as he collects his runners-up medal at the Stade de France.

The Brazilian press pounce on his Cup final misdemeanour branding him a “coward” and a “rebellious teenager”. PSG’s Tuchel adds salt to the wound by saying “I don’t like it. You can’t do that, you just can’t do that.”

He is given another ban for three games with a further two games suspended for lashing out at the spectator in the stands after the shock defeat to Rennes.

He heads back to Brazil to prepare for the Copa America after he claims to have been given permission to miss the league French champions’ final game of the season on May 24. Coach Tuchel denies his reasoning.

Four days later Brazil boss Tite takes the skipper’s armband away from the 96-time international and gives it to club team-mate Dani Alves less than three weeks away from the start of the Copa America on home soil.


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