In the wake of criticism that he's immature, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar said in a recent interview with a French station that he rejects those critics and will never stop partying. Comments on his maturity have come in direct response to his propensity to host incredibly lavish parties.
"So, who doesn't like to party? Everyone likes to have fun," the Brazilian winger said. "I know when I can go, I know when I can do it, when I can't. Contrary to what people think, that I'm immature, that I don't know what I do."
The critiques carry a bit more weight given the COVID-19 pandemic. The 28-year-old -- though he'll be 29 on Friday -- hosted a New Year's Eve party in Rio de Janeiro with around 150 people in attendance. Brazil's government has lagged behind other Latin American countries in kicking off its inoculation campaign, leaders have downplayed the severity of the respiratory disease and, perhaps most notably, a new strain of COVID developed in the country.
He wasn't pressed about his native's country's handling of the pandemic, but was asked if his partying affected his game.
"I've been in football for several years, " Neymar said. "If you stay 100% with your head focused on just playing football, in my opinion, you end up exploding. It is my time to relax, to be calm ... I will never stop doing it."
Since arriving in Paris in 2017 from Barcelona, Neymar has further established himself as one of the best players in the world. In addition to scoring 83 goals through 101 PSG appearances, he's won three Ligue 1 titles to go along with two Coupe de France, two Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophee des Champion. He also helped lead the Parisian club to a Champions League runner-up against Bayern Munich last season. The accomplishments have been enough to earn the Brazilian a four-year extension with PSG.