Brazil and PSG defender Dani Alves slams Neymar memes: It's not a joke
Paris Saint-Germain right-back Dani Alves doesn't think the jokes being made at Neymar's expense are funny and has urged his teammate with club and country not to pay them any attention.
At this summer's World Cup, Neymar became a target of widespread ridicule from fans and media for at times over-selling contact in an attempt to get the referee's attention.
Countless memes were created around the Brazil star's embellished reactions and many have become viral sensations on social media, with videos of individuals imitating his falls also becoming a trend worldwide.
However, Alves doesn't see the humour in fans' online actions, telling reporters: "No. I don't think it's a joke. When it becomes repetitive, it stops being a joke and starts to be something trying to cause damage.
"But I think human being intelligence is not to let these kinds of things shoot you down. We who are around him are making sure that it doesn't matter to him. The most important thing is about who you are, not what others think about you."
Summer speculation that Neymar was considering a move to Real Madrid was quickly stamped out by both the La Liga club and the player recently, seemingly putting an end to the rumour for the time being.
Neymar had called the 2017-18 season the biggest of his life after a record move to PSG from Barcelona last summer, with the former Santos star dreaming of Champions League, World Cup and Ballon d'Or success for himself. After early exits in Europe and in Russia, however, it appears unlikely any will happen this cycle.
Addressing the transfer speculation, Alves pointed to unfinished business as reason he hopes Neymar will remain in Paris.
"Look, I don't guess because he who guesses isn't sure of anything. I hope Ney remains because the story that he has at Paris Saint-Germain and in football must be reinvented year after year and it's not because you haven't completed a goal that you must give up on it," Alves said.
"Really, I think that champions and people who want to build a true story in a profession, they must struggle to reach the goal. When the goal is achieved, he can go wherever he wants, but the mission is not accomplished yet and like we say: mission given is mission accomplished, and if it's not, we must try to complete it."