Brazilian playmaker Rai, who became a legend with Paris Saint-Germain in the 1990s, has spoken out with some very strong words in support of often-criticised capital-club superstar Neymar.
So easy technically, Neymar fascinates as much as he can annoy. The Brazilian superstar has been the target of plenty of criticism since his world record-breaking transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in the summer of 2017, but several Brazilian greats have come out in recent weeks to speak out in support of the player considered to be the jewel in the crown of Brazilian football.
Last week it was Brazil, AS Roma and AC Milan legend Cafu, and this week it's Rai, an absolute idol at the Parc des Princes in the 1990s, who continues to believe that his compatriot will be a complete success in the capital.
'It's not easy to be Neymar'
"I admire him very much. Paris is fortunate to possess a genius of the game," Rai, who led PSG to two Ligue 1 Conforama titles, two Coupe de la Ligue BKTs, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, two Coupes de France and one Trophée des Champions, told France Football. "He has shown it time and time again, most recently against Dortmund."
Indeed, the Brazilian's no nonsense performance in the 2-0 return-leg win - which saw PSG qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in four attempts - showed that he can bring his match-winning quality to bear in the big matches. Much to the delight of the club's Qatari owners, who forked out €222m for him… no pressure.
"He has the means to take the club where it wants to go. It's not easy to be Neymar; he's a phenomenon whose every move is scrutinised all over the world. It's not easy for him," concluded Rai, who was in a similar position to Neymar 25 years ago. "But he's building his story with Paris and I'm sure it will be a beautiful one."