Neymar will inspire like Pele, Zico, Romario - father

Neymar will inspire players just as Brazil icons Pele, Zico, Romario, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo did before him, says the father of the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

Pele criticised Neymar's antics at Russia 2018 but the former Barcelona star is closing in on the three-time World Cup winner's position as Brazil's record goalscorer.

Neymar's father has regularly highlighted the rough treatment the forward - currently sidelined with a foot injury - often receives from opposition defenders.

And Neymar Sr defended his son against accusations he does not take the right approach on the pitch, claiming he will be an example for the next generation to follow.

"Neymar cannot change his essence, what he's made of, what he's formed from, the player he is," the star's father said to UOL. "He cannot be shaped, he cannot be what the media expects of him. 

"Neymar is Neymar, you will be comparing what kind of players would be compared to Neymar, just as Pele inspired some players, Zico, Romario, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo inspired others, Neymar will inspire other players."

Neymar's father, who also acts as the 27-year-old's agent, has confirmed talks are under way with PSG regarding an extension to his contract, which runs to 2022, but plans are also being put in place for when Neymar decides to hang up his boots.

"It is my job as a manager to do a schedule and career planning for him," Neymar's father added.

"I have said several times that the football player's career is very short. He dedicated himself to being a football professional and he has to live his post-career career.

"Our main challenge is to do career planning so that when he stops playing football he has peace of mind so he can follow his life in the same way."

There is no rush, though, with Neymar planning to continue playing for another decade.

"We are fighting for another 10 years so we can at least keep the story or finish it the way we are today - happy," Neymar Sr continued. "We are happy with Neymar's career so far.

"Neymar cannot end his career by being unhappy, doing what others thought he should do, and failing to do what he thought he had to do. Neymar has to do what he thinks is right for him."

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