Neymar has revealed that he congratulated Paris Saint-Germain team-mate, Kylian Mbappe, following his World Cup win with France, despite coming to grips with his own suffering.
Brazil were one of the favourites to win the tournament but ended up losing their quarter-final tie with Belgium.
Despite that painful and premature defeat, Neymar has admitted he was happy for Mbappe due to the ‘special affection’ he has for the 19-year-old.
‘I congratulated him, of course,’ Neymar said. ‘We talked during the World Cup, always, and we tried to meet in the semi-finals but unfortunately it wasn’t possible.
‘But I was happy for him. He’s a boy that I have special affection for, he’s a boy that I try to pass on my experience [to], even at my young age, to help him become better and better.’
Mbappe is well on the way to becoming one of the best footballers in the world, confirmed by his pivotal role in France’s World Cup triumph.
The PSG striker scored four goals, including one in the final against Croatia, and also claimed the FIFA Young Player award.
Talking at his five-a-side tournament – Neymar Jr Five – in Santos, Brazil, Neymar also responded to the criticism of his silence following Brazil’s World Cup exit.
‘I’m criticised for everything, for what I say, for what I don’t say, I’m used to it. I’ve been through this a lot,’ he said.
‘But I talked after a few days because I was soothing my pain. I was sad, I had to take my time to be more calm. It was a very difficult time.
‘And when I said something it was how I always talked [via Instagram]. It’s where I feel comfortable, where I try to express my words, and bring the public closer to me. I’m cool about this.’