Penny for Neymar Ltd's thoughts. Having moved from Barcelona to get out of the considerable shadow of Leo Messi and targeting the World Cup in a hope of winning the Ballon D'Or, he rocked up at PSG and was soon obscured by the brilliance of Kylian Mbappé in the most fundamentally hilarious twist of fate in modern football.
While Mbappe lit up the tournament and ended up as young player of the competition, Neymar and Brazil bowed out in ignominy at the quarter-final stage. It wasn't a terrible showing by Brazil, although it was a pretty nightmarish tournament for poor Neymar.
His absurd theatrics during the tournament have become a roiling, worldwide meme, with countless videos surfacing mocking the PSG forward for his amateur dramatics.
Neymar is well aware of the joke he has become, and has issued a defence of his suffering.
Speaking at a charity auction in aid of his foundation, Neymar claimed that he is taking the ceaseless mocking with good humour.
“I saw [the jokes] but I took them with humour. Even yesterday I posted on Instagram a joke with the children about it. My football is to dribble, to face the opponent. I can’t stand in front of the opponent and say, ‘My dear, excuse me, I want to score a goal’.
I can’t do that, I have to dribble past him, I have to try to do something and he will not allow me to go past and he will try to foul me.
A lot of times I’m faster and lighter than other players and they tackle me, and the referee is there for that. Do you think I want to suffer tackles all the time? No, it’s painful, it hurts. After the games I stay back four or five hours putting on ice.
It’s complicated but if you haven’t experienced that you will never understand.