Do some memory. Who has not dreamed as a child of becoming a soccer star? What friends with whom you shared that precious stage that is childhood did not want to become professional players? Few, perhaps none, but as the child becomes an adolescent and the adolescent becomes an adult, the reality that being an elite footballer is a privilege within the reach of a select few. Something like winning the 220 million that the EuroMillion raffles tomorrow.
In this select club you will find Neymar, but it remains to be seen if it is still there in just over a year. Qatar 2022 may be his last World Cup, and despite the fact that he will only be 30 years old, it may also be his last year as a footballer if we pay attention to his striking reflection in a documentary that DAZN has just released: «I think Qatar 2022 will be my last World Cup because I don’t know if I have the capacity mentally enough to continue being a footballer. Is it possible that a global crack, with his pockets overflowing with 500-euro bills, his current account full of millions and millions of dollars, and known in every corner of the planet, is capable of contemplating a premature withdrawal? Yes, it is possible, however paradoxical it may sound.
Neymar is not just another footballer, and not in reference only to his talent. At the age of 12, just the age when children are most fueled by the desire to be soccer stars, he was already signing autographs. His entire career has always been one step ahead of what his date of birth indicated, and skipping the natural steps of life can lead to problems in the medium-long term: «This scenario happens more times than we think, but it hides quite a bit because they are difficult situations. In Neymar’s case, his suggestion of retiring at the age of 30 may be caused by a inadequate pressure management. When an athlete has been subjected to a lot of pressure from a very young age, and it has continued to be that way already in high competition, their sports education is essential. Not everything is money or fame. It may be that at 14-15 years of age it is your goal or what you value the most, but the moment you have it, it may not fill you or satisfy you enough to continue practicing your profession, “he explains to ABC. Lara Jimenez, psychologist specialized in sports and member of the prestigious Patricia Ramírez team.
So is the psychologist Ares Zamora, which has an impact on this point: «Elite sport is very demanding, to the external pressures and expectations are added our own. Neymar knows that he has many eyes on him and is a reference for many children, in addition to being a media footballer, and when this status is not managed properly, especially in terms of self-confidence and digesting the success / error, thoughts like Neymar’s can arise ».
The Brazilian has always been a roller coaster. A footballer with unique qualities, but often wasted by himself and confused by his harmful environment: «He is surrounded by vampires. Neymar is a millennial who they did a lot to him all his life and it has many mental ups and downs. He has always been a spoiled child with a very toxic circle of friends and, of course, he does not know how to deal with pressure ”, a compatriot close to Ney tells this newspaper.
The change from Barcelona to Paris solved his economy and that of several family generations, but sportingly it did not make him happy. People who know him well talk about problems with alcohol and women, and poor football appetite. In five years at PSG he has barely played half of the games, and not even the arrival of Messi has returned the smile: «He knows perfectly that leaving Barcelona to go to Paris was a big mistake. The criticism he is receiving this season for his state of form is not accidental (he is accused of being overweight). Neymar does not take care of himself, he is not an ordinary athlete, he does not have that discipline that an elite athlete should have. He’s tired of even having a good time. At the age of 29 he has overlived and is beginning to have no illusions about anything ».
It is unknown if Neymar has problems that affect his mental health, but from the outside it is appreciated how he himself, in his day to day, has been feeding a monster that threatens to eat himself. Your overexposure on social media and his continuous irascibility is devouring him: «The image we have of Neymar according to what he shows on his social profiles is not that of an athlete who strives, is discreet and loves his profession. And, of course, the image we project can influence the way they see us, ”explains Zamora. “The more we show on social networks, the more exposed we are to comments, to people giving their opinion about our life and telling us what we can and cannot do. In short, for people to judge us and we don’t like to be judged when things are not going the way you want them to. We all like to be patted on the back, told that we are doing well, applaud our actions and judge us positively. When those judgments become criticisms or reproaches that harm us, they are no longer pleasant, and dealing with them is complicated, ”Jiménez sentenced.