In news that is bound to ruffle a few feathers, Brazilian superstar, Neymar, has been brought down a peg or two by one of his former international team-mates.
Former Manchester United player, Rafael, played alongside the Paris Saint-Germain forward for Brazil at the 2012 Olympic Games, and has taken a keen interest in his progress since.
It’s safe to say that he’s not impressed, however, and his outburst isn’t likely to win him many friends.
“We need Neymar, that’s for sure,” Rafael said to ESPN.
“We need him a lot. He needs to improve a lot of things outside the pitch […] Neymar is not a leader. I don’t think he’s a leader. It’s not him […] He thinks in his mind ‘I don’t need to do that’ to play well but you need to.
“[…] I say the truth but sometimes people don’t want to listen to the truth. They want you to say ‘you are good, you are magic’ they want you to say all the good stuff but life is not like that. I think he needs to listen more and if he does that it will be hard to stop Brazil.”
There can be little doubt as to Neymar’s quality on the pitch. At club level, he was often the focal point at Santos and Barcelona before his transfer to PSG, where he has been cited by coach Thomas Tuchel as being a key player for his side, per the Daily Express.
At international level, however, Brazil have failed to win the World Cup with Neymar in their side and the upcoming 2022 tournament in Qatar arguably gives him one last chance at ultimate glory.
By then, Neymar will be 30 years of age, and a title victory could cement him as one of his country’s greatest alongside Pele.
But if Rafael is right, he will have to start taking advice on board in order to do so.