Fifa World Cup: Neymar does the ‘Neymar Challenge’ as PSG star sees funny side in Fox Sports auction interview
Paris Saint-Germain star pokes fun at himself at Neymar Institute charity auction in Brazil, following criticism of his World Cup play-acting
Neymar has been mercilessly mocked for his World Cup diving dramatics, and it seems he’s figured out the only way to ride this one out is to join in the fun.
The Brazil star was criticised for throwing himself to the ground and rolling around in feigned agony several times during Russia 2018.
His antics spawned the “Neymar Challenge”, where fans filmed themselves rolling around on the floor and screaming in mock pain after someone calls out the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s name.
Neymar poked fun at himself on Thursday when he posted his own “Neymar Challenge” video on Instagram.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) July 19, 2018
In the video, Neymar is surrounded by around a dozen children in a car park, and then shouts, “One, two, three, go!”.
The kids fall and exaggerate their reactions as the 26-year-old laughs. “That’s a free kick!” he says.
“I was joking [in the social media video],” Neymar told Fox Sports. “Since everybody is hopping on the bandwagon, I take it as a joke. I am not upset.”
“It was just a moment I was with the kids and I decided to do it,” the striker added.
Neymar was speaking at an auction to raise money for his charitable foundation in Sao Paulo, as he rests following Brazil’s World Cup elimination.
He said “the grief is over” following their quarter-final exit to Belgium. “We have to choose to be happy. We have reasons to be said, but I choose to be happy,” he said.
The Brazilian also ruled out a move to Real Madrid from PSG, with speculation mounting that he could replace Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu.
Neymar has repeatedly been linked with a move to Madrid despite only joining French champions PSG for €222 million (US$264 million) a year ago from Barcelona.
“I’m staying, I’m staying in Paris, I have a contract,” Neymar told reporters.
Madrid themselves have shot down the rumours linking them to Neymar, releasing a statement last week to distance the club from any move for him.
“In the face of the constant reports linking PSG’s Neymar to our club, Real Madrid wish to clarify that the club has no intention of making any offer for the player,” the statement read.
“The two clubs enjoy an excellent relationship and, as such, if Real Madrid were at any stage to consider securing the services of a PSG player, they would approach the club in the first instance.”