Despite being rated by many as one of the finest footballers going around in contemporary times, Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar feels that he does not get the kind of respect he deserves, especially from Brazilian fans. While he could well go on to emerge as the national team's all-time top scorer in the near future.
The forward has now demanded more respect from his compatriots after he set a national record against Peru on Thursday. He became Brazil's top-scorer in the World Cup qualifiers when he scored in the 2-0 win in Recife. He also set up the only other goal of the match. Neymar's tally in the preliminary rounds of the FIFA World Cup now stands at 12, which is more than Brazilian greats like Romario, Zico and Ronaldo.
I don't even like to talk in interviews anymore: Neymar
"Obviously, the team is the most important. I'm very happy to be the top scorer in the qualifiers, the most assists for the national team and soon, if all goes well, it will be an honour to pass Pele as the all-time top scorer," he told TV Globo.
"I don't know anymore what I have to do for people to respect me. This is normal, it's been a long time. Reporters, commentators, others too," he added.
"Sometimes I don't even like to talk in interviews anymore, but at an important moment, I come to show up. I leave it to the guys to think a little bit," he further said.
I'm at the right weight, Neymar had to clarify
Notably, the 29-year-old's comments come at the backdrop of him being criticised for looking overweight during Brazil's recent World Cup qualifying matches. There were also claims doing the rounds that termed him out of shape as Brazil defeated Chile 1-0 last week. However, he brushed aside all such reports, even saying that the shirt he was wearing was just too big.
"The shirt was size [large], I'm at the right weight. Next game I'll order an M," he had clarified on Instagram.
The former Barcelona star is his country's second-highest goal-scorer of all time. While he has 69 goals to his credit already, legendary Pele finished his career with 77 goals.