Will he have the head, the shoulders and the backbone to continue beyond the 2022 World Cup? Neymar sowed doubt at the beginning of the week on his future as a footballer in the medium and long term. "I do not know if I would have the mental strength to continue in football" beyond the World Cup in Qatar, he told DAZN media in an interview published on Sunday. This shattering declaration gripped all of Brazil, but had to make the leaders of PSG, to which he is linked until 2025, just as circumspect. Will he really reach the end of his contract? Will he have the "mental strength"? Mauricio Pochettino played the card of trust and benevolence this Thursday in an interview given to Spanish radio Cadena Cope.
“He expressed what he was feeling at the time, but I see him as a strong person at 29 years old.
Ever since he was little he has been under pressure to do great things on a soccer field, he has incredible mental strength, an incredible character, enormous sensitivity and he has the virtue of always telling you the truth when you talk to him, said the PSG coach.
This is why he may have said something that he was feeling at the time that can be interpreted in a number of ways, but it is clear to me that he wants to be in Paris to give titles to the club and , above all, this long awaited Champions League.
Neymar in turmoil: Thiago Siva comes to his rescue
Regularly described by his partners as someone hypersensitive, Neymar had also received this week the support of players like Thiago Silva.
According to Pochettino, Neymar confided this current malaise to the Parisian sporting director Leonardo.
"He had a conversation where he explained his feelings", specifies the Argentinian.
Messi at PSG?
" I thought it was a joke "
The former Tottenham technician brushed off a number of other topics in this interview.
We will remember the words of comfort also sent to the still convalescent Sergio Ramos ("He is a great champion, who can doubt his competitiveness; he is not having a good time but he is strong"), but also his opinion on the negotiations. with Mbappé or the arrival this summer of Messi.
“The club will try to convince him and seduce him so that he is present.
As a coach, I would like him to be there for many more years, ”he said of the Frenchman.
Regarding the six-fold Golden Ball, which he wishes for a seventh trophy next month, he recounted his amazement when Leonardo told him about the possibility of a transfer.
“Leonardo called me and said:
There is the possibility of signing Messi, do you like him or you don't like him?
I thought it was a joke (…) I said yes and that was the start of the process.
Every night Leonardo called me to tell me how the situation was.
Fans cheering after Messi's first goal
Finally, Pochettino spoke about his vision of the profession and what it means, in terms of management, to have a cloakroom as prestigious as that of PSG.
“Having big stars like we have involves the image, the marketing of the club and we know we have to be flexible about these things,” he concedes.
We try to make life easy for our players, but we need the minimum necessary to achieve the goal, which is not only to produce money to get into the club, there is also the sporting side.