The Brazilian forward had an eventful competition in Qatar, getting injured in the first game – but returning for a memorable showing in the knockout stages.
He scored against both South Korea as well as Croatia but saw his side go down in the quarter-finals.
Neymar was even criticized for his lack of involvement in the penalty shoot-out, with fans blaming him for failing to step up early and instead waiting to take the winning penalty himself.
The Brazilian has shaken off the criticism and returned to PSG training nice and early after the World Cup.
While his close mate Lionel Messi is still partying about his World Cup success, Neymar made himself available to start PSG’s game against Strasbourg on Wednesday – their first game after the break.
It was a game full of drama. One of the most shocking moments featured Neymar, who picked up two yellow cards in two minutes to get sent off. The second one was for simulation, as he allegedly dived inside the penalty box to get a penalty.
He got into the referee’s face and left the stadium after the incident. But some are wondering if this was an inside job from Neymar to get some time off, with New Year’s Eve around the corner.
In fact, Brazil legend Gerson even voiced this conspiracy theory himself, telling UOL Esporte: “Neymar gets sent off with a second yellow for diving and doesn’t play on January 1st? I wonder if his New Year’s Eve party is planned already.”
Neymar’s sending-off was a little bit bizarre because it was unclear why an experienced candidate like him would risk going down on the ground that easily only minutes after getting booked.
In his defence, the PSG forward appeared to have made some contact with the Strasbourg defender, but it was clearly not enough and knowing his reputation, the referee send him off to make a statement.
But it was still not enough contact for a definite penalty and Neymar did himself no favours going down.
The Brazilian forward has this reputation of picking up bizarre injuries or trouble before the date of certain parties in a year.
He has infuriated fans by getting injured just before his sister’s birthdays for almost every year since joining PSG.
Her Birthday is in Match 11 and weirdly, Neymar has been injured or suspended for fixtures in or around the date of her special day every year for the last 7-8 years.
That is why some supporters believe that Neymar did indeed get himself intentionally sent off to be fully available for the New Year’s Eve party.
With PSG having a match on New Year’s Day against Lens, he probably wouldn’t have been allowed to party hard if he was available to pick for Christophe Galiter’s side in that game.
While it’s still unclear whether or not Neymar did intentionally get a red card, maybe leaked pictures from his New Year’s Eve party can determine if he’s truly gutted to miss the first game of 2023 for PSG.