PARIS (Reuters) - Paris St Germain striker Neymar expects to get a hostile reception no matter where he plays this season after sections of the home crowd turned a blind eye to his match-winning performance on Saturday and booed the want-away Brazilian.
Neymar scored a spectacular goal with a bicycle kick two minutes into stoppage time to give the home side a 1-0 win over Racing Strasbourg.
But that was not enough to placate some of the fans who are not only angry with him for trying to force a move back to his former club, Barcelona, but also because he said his best memory as a footballer was PSG’s humiliating 6-1 Champions League defeat by Barca in 2017.
On Saturday Neymar admitted that PSG had blocked his move back to Spain before adding he had put the disagreement behind him.
“I had my reason, I wanted to leave, that is clear,” he told reporters in Portuguese.
“I did all I could, but they wouldn’t let me. But I am not going to go into details, the page has turned. This is the first time I am saying this and it will be the last, because my head is now dedicated to Paris and I hope to help my team mates in our games.”
Some of the fans cheered the player after he scored the winner but there were also boos. During the game, supporters also barracked the controversial striker and held up offensive banners.
Neymar, though, brushed off the incidents and appealed for fans to put their dislike of him to one side.
“It’s not the first time I was totally booed. I was booed away from home in Brazil. I played in France away from home and I was booed.
“So it’s sad but I know that all the games from now on will be away games. I have nothing against the fans or PSG. I don’t need them to cheer my name or be there for me.
“I want them to be there for PSG,” he added.
“They say PSG is bigger than any player. They need to forget that player and support the team, that is more important than booing. It didn’t bother me at all. It’s very sad. It bothers my team mates but it’s part and parcel.”
Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.