Having been part of the Brazil side that were knocked out by Belgium, the PSG attacker was at least happy that his club-mate won the tournament
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar was quick to congratulate Kylian Mbappe, a player he has ‘special affection’ for, on winning the World Cup despite grappling with the heartbreak of his nation’s own exit.Neymar and Brazil were surprisingly bundled out in the quarter-finals by Belgium, who subsequently lost in the last four to eventual champions France.Teenage attacker Mbappe played a key part in Les Bleus’ triumph in Russia, netting in their 4-2 win over Croatia in the final to finish the tournament with four goals and the FIFA Young Player award.The 19-year-old, whom Real Madrid have denied they are targeting, returns to PSG as one of the hottest properties in world football, and Neymar insists he is delighted for his club team-mate.
“I congratulated him, of course,” Neymar told reporters.”We talked during the World Cup, always, and we tried to meet in the semi-finals but unfortunately it wasn’t possible.”But I was happy for him. He’s a boy that I have special affection for, he’s a boy that I try to pass on my experience to, even at my young age, to help him become better and better.
“Speaking at his five-a-side tournament in Sao Paulo, Neymar also responded to the critics that questioned his silence in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup.The 26-year-old, who faced accusations of under performance and play-acting, initially avoided commenting on Brazil’s shock failure.”I’m criticised for everything, for what I say, for what I don’t say, I’m used to it.
I’ve been through this a lot,” he said.”But I talked after a few days because I was soothing my pain. I was sad, I had to take my time to be more calm. It was a very difficult time.”And when I said something it was how I always talked [via Instagram]. It’s where I feel comfortable, where I try to express my words, and bring the public closer to me. I’m cool about this.”