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Neymar faces unjust body shaming amidst weight gain, igniting debate on football culture

Posted : 03 February 2024

In the realm of social media, Neymar finds himself subjected to relentless mockery for his perceived weight gain, a phenomenon exacerbated by the colossal pressure he has borne for years as the torchbearer of Brazilian football hopes. The unjustified and cruel shaming he endures fails to acknowledge the immense burden of expectations placed upon him, reducing a human being to the subject of ridicule. Unfortunately, in the world of football, particularly concerning Neymar, the norms of 1974 persist in 2024, as players remain susceptible to mockery for various aspects, even their physical appearance.


A recent photo from Romario's birthday party, capturing Neymar with what seemed like a noticeable weight gain, triggered a deluge of disparaging reactions online. From comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo's physique to witty remarks about Neymar devouring himself, the mockery demonstrated the insatiable desire of football fans to take a swipe at the Brazilian superstar. Neymar's previous instances of appearing out of shape did not escape scrutiny either, prompting sarcastic responses from him. His recent video exposing his stomach, dedicated to his detractors, sheds light on the toll such ridicule takes on the footballer.


The pattern of body shaming extends beyond Neymar, encompassing Brazilian football legends like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Adriano, who faced similar criticisms during their careers. The cultural backdrop of Brazilian football, characterized by an emphasis on entertainment and extravagant lifestyles, often collides with the expectations placed on players. Neymar's exorbitant earnings and lifestyle choices make him a prime target for ridicule, overlooking the complexity of his experiences and struggles. The narrative surrounding Neymar's appearance reflects not only on his physical form but also on the broader portrayal of Brazilian players.


Neymar, in a Netflix documentary, has acknowledged the immense pressure he feels, emphasizing the challenges of living up to the expectations of an entire nation. The documentary delves into the stress and emotional toll that accompany the pursuit of success in Brazilian football. Neymar's admission of considering retirement after the painful loss to Croatia in the last World Cup underscores the emotional impact and personal sacrifices inherent in his journey. Rather than succumbing to the ridicule, perhaps it's time for a more empathetic understanding of Neymar's humanity, recognizing that fame and wealth don't justify the cruel shaming he endures.


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