Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar has explained why he did not give teammate Edinson Cavani the late penalty in the recent 8-0 home win over Dijon in Ligue 1, a goal which could have set a new all-time goals tally of 157 for the Uruguay international.
Speaking with Brazilian media after PSG’s 4-0 victory over Montpellier in Ligue 1 last Saturday, the former Barcelona man revealed why he ignored Cavani’s calls that night — despite knowing about the his imminent record-breaking moment.
“It was impossible not to know about Edinson’s record,” Neymar said. “The coach picked me as the penalty taker for that match, though, and there was no problem with this.
“Everyone in the squad knows what happened in the dressing room. The coach chose me and I took that responsibility on.”
Neymar admitted that the whistling from the Parc des Princes crowd against Dijon got to him but that, as professional footballers, he and his teammates expose themselves to that potential treatment.
“Of course, it bothered me,” said Neymar. “We are here to be whistled and applauded though.
“I am happy — especially because of the win [over Montpellier]. I think that we played well.”
Neymar went on to reveal his happiness for Cavani after he finally set a new record by opening the scoring against Montpellier and expressed his hope that they will continue to combine for more goals.
“I am very happy for Edinson and I will try to carry on helping him in every match,” the Brazil international said. “Of course, I hope that he continues to score many more goals for PSG.”
Asked about his own happiness at PSG, Neymar played down recent speculation that he could move back to Spain with La Liga giants Real Madrid and said he is focused instead on what he can achieve with the Ligue 1 leaders.
“I am calm and happy here with my friends and teammates,” said the 25-year-old. “I came here to make history, to give my best and to score plenty of goals.”
Neymar and his PSG teammates can book their first cup final appearance of the season if they win away at Rennes in the Coupe de la Ligue on Tuesday.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.