PSG yesterday produced an extraordinary press release regarding and Odoxa public opinion poll commissioned by RTL which asked respondents unnecessarily provokes opponents into lashing out at him owing to his style of play. 84% of French people agreed, with 78% of football fans doing the same.
Les Parisiens have formally responded:
Even if this survey does not specifically use the words, the spectacular skills of the Brazilian are to be perceived as a “provocation” which justifies sometimes “punishment” which can take the form of an injury…
First of all, we are casting enormous doubt on the reliability of this survey. If we focus on this specific question, it would appear that 99% of French people – if we add the 15% who believe that “we do not protect the artists in football in France enough” are of an ability to give an opinion on the style of play produced by Neymar Jr. We are not even certain that in Brazil that percentage of the population would be qualified to speak on football in such a way.
By accrediting, just for a simple exercise, an ounce of credit to these numbers, should we laugh or cry at these results? In the entire world, who makes kids dream more and people who are in love with this game? Neymar Jr or one of his recent opponents? By delving into the depths of this survey, are we to suggest that Pelé, George Best, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo (Fenomeno) or Zinedine Zidane “overdid it”? In other words, did Mustapha Dahleb, Safet Susic, Rai, Jay-Jay Okocha and Ronaldinho “overdo it” during their time at Paris-Saint Germain? And, from elsewhere in our league, would France have supported the actions of those who were responsible for injuring Raymond Kopa, Dominique Rocheteau, Alain Giresse, Glenn Hoddle, José Touré, Chris Waddle, Sonny Anderson and Eden Hazard on the grounds that their football style was seen by their opponent as provocation?
We say stop to these pseudo-surveys that do nothing other than isolate our league from the greatest geniuses of football which is our shared passion…
1 | This season, in Ligue 1, 44 fouls on Neymar Jr were called, 3.3 per match on average, and in the Champions’ League (37 fouls called), this average is up to 5.9 per match.
2 | In Ligue 1, a competition known for being very physical, PSG’s opponents receive 1.3 cards per match on average; in the Champions’ League, the average is at 3.2 per match.
We are fighting for French refereeing to become much more protective of Neymar Jr – the player who has suffered the most fouls in France – and all of the players who are trying to play a beautiful game. And we want, for the sake of the French league, for the Brazilian phenomenon to come back as quickly as possible to light up the Parc des Princes and all the stadiums in our country.