Neymar 'not proud' of transfer fee, being world's most expensive player

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Neymar said he is uncomfortable with being the most expensive player in the world and that he would have not paid €222 million for himself when he moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last year.

The 26-year-old, who is in Russia preparing for the World Cup with Brazil, told Spox that the size of the transfer last summer was more than he would have paid for himself.

"I'm not proud of my transfer fee, or the fact that I'm the most expensive player ever," Neymar said. "That's money and nothing else. I can't help it. Personally, I would have paid less for myself."

Neymar, who scored 19 goals and provided 13 assists in 20 Ligue 1, said he wanted to be a special player from an early age -- even if not in terms of value.

"I always wanted to be special," he said. "That was my goal very early -- actually from the moment I started playing football for a club. That was at the age of 11. It may sound clumsy but from then on, I have tried to get better every single day and get to my best. I really worked and sacrificed every day of my life to become a professional one day. That was the only dream I ever had.

"I dreamed of playing for Santos' first team, being invited to the national team and one day going to Europe. It was not foreseeable at the time that I would succeed, but I kept thinking about it. There was nothing else for me."

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Neymar is proud to have realised his childhood dreams but does not feel that he needed a world-record transfer fee paid for him to recognise his ability.

"I am proud that I achieved the goals I set myself as a kid," he said. "That was and always will be most important to me. It, of course, makes me proud to have been welcomed at my clubs and to have reached many sporting goals there. You always need to show who you are as a player, and you must stand your ground. To just point to the transfer fee does not help you at all and also doesn't say how good you really are."

The forward was named the Ligue 1 player of the year in his first season with PSG, and he scored 26 goals in all competitions despite missing the club's final 16 games with a broken right foot.

Amid persistent speculation that he will leave PSG for Real Madrid as soon as this summer, likely for an even larger transfer fee, he has since recovered from the injury and rejoined Brazil for friendlies against Croatia and Austria earlier this month in advance of the World Cup opener against Switzerland on June 17.

Winning the competition, which would be Brazil's sixth title and first since 2002, would help Brazil gain a measure of retaliation following their 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinals as hosts four years ago.

"I felt as beaten as the team was and was affected like everyone else," said Neymar, who missed the game because of a back injury. "The expectations on us in our own country were almost inhumanly high and Germany were an excellent opponent.

"We knew it would be hard. Unfortunately, it went as it did. Now we finally have the opportunity to forget about the last World Cup. Maybe we will meet Germany again -- and then hopefully, we will have real revenge."

ESPN FC Germany correspondent Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.