Neymar admitted he exaggerated fouls during the World Cup but the Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain superstar has pledged to become a new man after falling apart in Russia.
There were high hopes for Neymar and Brazil at Russia 2018 but the South American giants made a shock quarter-final exit against Belgium.
Neymar – who scored twice at the showpiece tournament after recovering from a broken foot sustained in February – was a regular target of criticism for his theatrics and behaviour on the pitch.
The 26-year-old forward, the most expensive player in history, was subsequently left off the shortlist for FIFA’s Best awards.
Neymar used a sponsor’s advertisement with personal care products manufacturer Gillette to accept criticism and vow to bounce back.
The ad started with Neymar saying, ‘Boot-stud on the shins. Kick in the spine. Stomp on the foot.
‘You may think I overreact, and sometimes I do. But the truth is I suffer on the pitch. You have no idea what I go through outside of it.
‘When I leave without talking to the press, it’s not because I only like winning, 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 deal with my frustrations.
‘There’s still a boy inside of me. Sometimes it dazzles the world. Other times, it pisses everyone off. And my fight is to keep this boy alive. But inside of me, not inside the field.
‘You may think I’ve fallen too much, but the reality is I fell apart. And that hurts more than anyone stepping on your operated ankle.
‘I took time to accept your criticism. I took time to look at myself in the mirror and become a new man. But now I’m here, with my heart wide open.
‘I fell but only those who fall can get up. You can keep throwing rocks at me or you can throw your rocks away and help me get up because when I do get up, the whole country gets up with me.’
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