The two years Neymar spent at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) alongside his pal Lionel Messi were described as “hell” in an interview with Globo Esporte.
Between 2013 and 2017, they worked together in Barcelona as coworkers. In 2017, Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG for 222 million euros, or around $239.6 million, in the most expensive trade in transfer history. In 2021, Messi joined him. The club won two Ligue 1 championships and one Trophee des Champions in the two seasons they were teammates.
But because PSG failed to make the breakthrough they desired in the Champions League in the previous two seasons, some of their supporters started to take it out on Messi and Neymar. Both were jeered by home fans at Parc des Princes.
“We lived through hell in Paris,” Neymar said. “We were there [in Paris] to give our best and be champions, to try to make history. That’s why [Messi and I] started playing together again. We got together there to make history. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it.”
Messi led Argentina to victory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and he afterward signed with Inter Miami of the Major League Soccer as a free agent in July after leaving PSG. Neymar left PSG a month later to join Al-Hilal of the Saudi Pro League. His move cost PSG 90 million euros, or around $97.2 million.
“He went to heaven with Argentina. I was very happy for him. But, in Paris he lived through hell,” Neymar said of Messi. “In my opinion, he was unfairly judged in Paris. He had an exit that, football-wise, he didn’t deserve.”
Luis Enrique, manager of PSG, disagreed with Neymar. “These are personal experiences. I don’t want to get into that. I can tell you about my experience: I’m absolutely delighted. I feel like I’m in charge of a rather unique team with a club that trusts me 100 per cent,” Enrique said in response to Neymar’s remarks.
Former French national team member Robert Pires went further, calling Neymar and Messi “crybabies.” “I call that being crybabies. Being a professional player means withstanding the pressure. Sometimes, when you play well, you’re glad to receive praise. When you don’t, that’s part of the game,” he told Canal+.