Party boy Neymar won't change as it's his private life

Brazil's talisman Neymar insists he has always given his best on the pitch. He also sees no issue with coach Micale's comment on being dependent on him, being the star.
Brazil's talisman Neymar insists he has always given his best on the pitch. He also sees no issue with coach Micale's comment on being dependent on him, being the star.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

RIO DE JANEIRO • Brazilian football star Neymar is a party boy and he is not going to apologise for it.

At a rather tense press conference on Tuesday at the facility where Brazil's Olympic football team are training for the Rio Games, the Barcelona striker told reporters he would not change his ways.

"I'm 24 years old. I have my faults, I'm not perfect. I like to go out and have fun with my friends. Why shouldn't I go out and party? I don't see why not," he said at the training camp in Teresopolis, outside Rio.

Growing increasingly irritated, the Barcelona star went on: "I really don't see the problem. It's my private life. On the pitch, I always give everything I have."

One of the journalists had asked Neymar how invested he was in the national team, given a recent spate of suspensions and the fact that he went out clubbing after a 2-2 draw with Uruguay in the 2018 World Cup qualifying round - a match that saw him earn a yellow card.

Addressing the journalist directly, he said: "If you were 24... wouldn't you be the same way? I'm asking you."

NO REASON I CAN'T HAVE FUN

I'm 24 years old. I have my faults, I'm not perfect. I like to go out and have fun with my friends. Why shouldn't I go out and party?

NEYMAR, Brazil forward, defending his lifestyle.

Last week, Brazil's Olympic coach Rogerio Micale surprised some when he said: "I want to be dependent on Neymar."

The next day, national coach Tite - who will take over the Selecao after the Olympics - warned against putting too much pressure on Neymar, saying it was "inhuman to put all the responsibility on one person".

Brazil, five-time World Cup champions who have never won Olympic gold, have struggled recently to escape accusations of being a one-man team with little threat beyond their Barcelona star.

When asked about Micale's comment, Neymar compared himself to Argentina star Lionel Messi, his Barcelona team-mate.

"We have great players, and wouldn't we say that we rely on Messi? Of course we rely on him. We rely on the best players."

Brazil's Olympic squad will play a friendly against Japan on Saturday in Goiania. The team are in Group A with South Africa, Denmark and Iraq.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Party boy Neymar won't change as it's his private life'. Print Edition | Subscribe