Soccer

Brazilian Superstar Neymar Reflects on PSG Struggles With Lionel Messi: ‘Messi left in a way that he did not deserve’

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03: Lionel Messi and Neymar JR of Paris Saint-Germain in action during the French Ligue 1 soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Clermont Foot 63 at Parc des Princes Stadium on June 03, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Liewig - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Brazilian superstar Neymar Junior recently offered candid thoughts on his two seasons as Lionel Messi’s teammate at Paris Saint-Germain. In an interview with Brazilian outlet O Globo, Neymar described the experience as “hell” at times despite immense mutual respect between the two global icons.

After Messi’s shocking Barcelona exit, Neymar and Messi joined forces at PSG in 2021. Expectations were sky-high for the star duo to lead PSG’s quest for a first Champions League title. However, the pairing failed to meet lofty goals, and Messi was allowed to leave on a free transfer last summer.

According to Neymar, Messi did not receive the proper send-off from PSG that his stature and contributions warranted.

“Messi left [PSG] in a way that, for football, he did not deserve.”

Neymar Junior said in the interview

“For everything he is, everything he does, anyone who knows him knows he’s a guy who trains, who fights.”

Neymar Junior

Neymar suggested outside pressure and criticism unfairly targeted Messi during their time together in Paris. “He was unfairly charged, in my view,” Neymar stated. However, the Brazilian was still thrilled to see Messi finally lift the World Cup trophy with Argentina last December.

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 19: Lionel Messi #30 of Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar #10 of Paris Saint-Germain during the team's pre-match warm-up before the Paris Saint-Germain Vs Lille OSC, French Ligue 1 regular season match at Parc des Princes on February 19th 2023 in Paris, France (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Messi and Neymar’s Turbulent Times at PSG

Messi has acknowledged struggling to adapt and find happiness in Paris after spending his entire career at Barcelona. Neymar confirmed the challenges he and Messi faced to meet lofty expectations as PSG chased Champions League glory.

In the end, Neymar and Messi ended up leaving PSG within months of each other this year. Messi departed as a free agent to join Inter Miami in MLS, where he has started strong.

Meanwhile, The Brazilian superstar Neymar plays for Al Hilal in the Saudi Professional League, where he has managed to kick off a promising new chapter in his career. Despite several setbacks at PSG, both players remain remarkably committed to the game, echoing their love for football.