‘Nobody had a problem with Neymar’ – Diaby

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The club’s former winger claims that a lot of what’s written about the Brazilian is “nonsense”, labelling his old team-mate as a “normal guy”

Former Paris Saint-Germain youngster Moussa Diaby has defended Neymar amid criticism over his attitude and celebrity status at Parc des Princes, insisting “nobody had a problem” with the Brazilian during his time at the club.

Neymar completed a €222 million (£200m/$249m) switch from Barcelona to PSG in 2017, becoming the world’s most expensive player.

There was some suggestion that the mercurial attacker wished to step out of the shadow of Lionel Messi in order to win the Ballon d’Or, but his time in France has been blighted by a string of serious injuries.

Neymar has yet to finish a full season at PSG, with metatarsal injuries restricting his time on the pitch for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

The 27-year-old’s attitude has also been called into question on a number of occasions, leading to fresh rumours over a possible return to Barcelona during the summer transfer window .

Diaby, who left PSG to join Bayer Leverkusen in June, claims Neymar is the victim of a lot of unfair judgement within the media.

The 20-year-old told Goal and SPOX: “I met Neymar as a normal guy. He did not show any celebrity and did not want to kick every ball on the pitch. He sometimes gave tips to young players.

“You can see he’s got a lot of experience, but he treated everyone the same way. Nobody had a problem with him.

“I do not think that he has become another person on the pitch. Of course, a lot is spoken and written about him, but there is always a part of it that’s a lot of nonsense.

“How can you judge him as a person if you only see from the outside?”

When asked to address reports of clashes between young and old players at PSG, Diaby also responded defiantly: “No. There was a good mood in the locker room and we laughed a lot together. There was no discussion in this regard.

“When the experienced players talk to the younger ones, they listen and try to take the advice. I never saw that one of the boys did not want to listen.”

Neymar was widely condemned for his actions after PSG were beaten in the French Cup final by Rennes back in April, after clashing with a fan when going up to collect his runners-up medal.

The Brazil international reportedly also singled out a number of younger players within the squad for criticism after the match, but Diaby was reluctant to be drawn on any speculation.

“I’ve heard that, but I cannot comment on it because I do not know who he meant exactly and what message he wanted to send out,” he added.

“I know that I’m a young player, but I do not think he’d necessarily talk about me. That’s why I cannot and do not want to comment on that.”

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