PARIS: Kylian Mbappe insisted his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is “human like everyone else” after the Brazilian was reduced to tears on Friday by the controversy that has followed him since his arrival from Barcelona.
A tearful Neymar pleaded with the media to stop the “false stories” about his alleged frosty relations with PSG coach Unai Emery and fellow striker Edinson Cavani following Brazil’s 3-1 international friendly win over Japan in Lille.
The 25-year-old said he was “hurt” by the issue, before adding that he was “really happy” in Paris following his world-record 222-million-euro ($264 million) transfer in August.
Mbappe, Neymar and Cavani have linked up to devastating effect this season, with the trio combining to score 24 goals through PSG’s first 12 league matches.
But Mbappe conceded Neymar was just as susceptible to criticism as anyone else.
“It just simply proves that he’s human like everyone else. He’s like us, he has two arms, two legs, a heart, so he can be affected by the criticism he is subjected to,” Mbappe told French television channel TF1 on Sunday.
“From the outside he gives off a certain image, he doesn’t appear to be affected… But when you’re on the inside, he opens himself up to you, he shows he’s a normal person.
“He’s incredibly strong on the pitch that you think he’s just as strong off it, but away from it he remains a normal guy.”