Dani Alves believes the heavy dose of criticism Neymar received during and following the World Cup will help the Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain star mature.
Neymar found himself under fire during the summer tournament in Russia, with Brazil exiting in the quarter-final stage amid their talisman’s theatrics.
The attacker’s reactions to contact drew ire from opposing coaches, while fans made memes off his memorable reaction to an incident in the round of 16 against Mexico.
Even fellow players have gotten into the act, as United States international DeAndre Yedlin mocked Neymar’s World Cup’s behavior to a referee during the recent international friendly between the U.S. and Brazil.
Neymar himself released an ad following the World Cup promising to do better, though he complained after a yellow card for diving against El Salvador that the referee was mistaken.
And Alves, Neymar’s international and club team-mate at PSG, is of the belief the experience will help shape Neymar into a better person.
“In life, sometimes things happen that make you mature and make you realize that you have to improve as a professional,” Alves said.
“I’ve talked a lot with Neymar. I think he’s gained experience and the little shots he’s received during the World Cup will make him even more mature – [a] change of behavior.”
That Neymar was roundly criticised for his actions during the World Cup was something that Alves said made a difference in driving the point home that changes had to be made.
“You leave the kid aside and you become a man, and when you start becoming a man, your decisions and attitudes become more weighty,” Alves added. “And I told him that if everyone tells you the same thing and not only one or two people, something is wrong.
“We all have flaws, but we must not stay in one’s flaws. In life, we must try to evolve, because we are all intelligent.”
Neymar returns to PSG after scoring a pair of goals during the international break in Brazil victories over the United States and El Salvador.
However, he may not feature in Ligue 1 against Saint-Etienne this weekend, as head coach Thomas Tuchel considers resting him for next week’s Champions League clash against Liverpool.