Neymar has defended Lionel Messi after an underwhelming first season at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). The Brazilian believes it has been difficult for Messi, who spent his entire senior career at Barcelona before making the switch to PSG, to adapt to French football.
Messi did not reach double figures in league goals this season, scoring just six goals, along with providing 14 assists.
Speaking to Canal Football Club, Neymar defended Lionel Messi and talked about the difficulty of adapting to a new league.
"Everything you can imagine, he sent it there. It didn't take long at Barcelona, he stayed there for many years, it's difficult to adapt. It's difficult for him to change teams in the city, right? He doesn't go alone. His family only has a language that is different, but there are many things that end up getting in the way of the style. It's like playing with players who end up not understanding the way he plays. So it's increasingly difficult, not just with me, but with players who are always hungry. Team performance brings titles, we know our responsibility, and that's why we have to be better," he said.
Lionel Messi needs time to adapt at PSG, says Cisse
Neymar is not the first to support Messi by claiming the Argentine has suffered due to cultural change.
Earlier this season, Djibril Cisse came out in full support of the former Barcelona star and told L'Equipe:
"[Lionel] Messi's problem, if we can speak of a problem, is that he's a human being. For more than twenty years, he was in his element, in Barcelona. And there, we take him, we put him in another environment and we say to him: 'Go ahead, perform.' But he changed his life. His family has changed their life. We must give him time to adapt, even if his name is [Lionel] Messi. The life of a football player is impacted by his private life. For me, it's not a football problem."
Lionel Messi will be hoping to hit the ground running in his second season and help them win the Champions league – the trophy they are desperate to lift.
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