'Total lack of respect' - Paqueta defends Neymar after accusation PSG star turns up for training 'almost drunk'

Neymar PSG 2021-22
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The Brazilian has described his compatriot as a "great professional" while slamming "false" media reports

Lucas Paqueta has jumped to the defence of Neymar amid accusations that the Paris Saint-Germain star turns up for training "almost drunk".

Neymar has found himself under constant scrutiny at PSG since his world record €222 million (£185m/$244m) move from Barcelona in 2017, with his attitude and commitment called into question due to his inconsistent performances.

The 30-year-old is now away with Brazil for the international break, but his preparations for the latest set of 2022 World Cup qualifiers have been disrupted by fresh reports suggesting he's been guilty of regular breaches of discipline at club level.

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What's been said?

A journalist on French outlet RMC Sport has accused Neymar of reporting to PSG training while still mildly drunk, which Paqueta has come out to dismiss as an outright "lie".

The midfielder, who plays alongside Neymar in the Brazil national team and against him in Ligue 1 with Lyon, told a press conference when asked about the claims: "It's a total lack of respect, to say or transmit information that is false. Obviously, he (Neymar) didn't comment on that, I believe it's a lie.

"People talk too much and it ends up affecting us a little in a way, it's difficult to filter all that. You can't believe what people say... I believe Neymar is a great professional."

Neymar is 'the best player in the Brazil squad'

Neymar has endured another turbulent season at PSG, recording just five goals in 21 games while spending several weeks on the sidelines through injury.

Supporters took aim at the former Barca talisman after the Ligue 1 leaders were knocked out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage by Real Madrid as they jeered every time he touched the ball in a domestic clash with Bordeaux on March 13.

Neymar will be aiming to forget his troubles at club level when Brazil take on Chile and Bolivia over the next week, with Paqueta of the opinion that he remains his country's standout player.

"Neymar, above all, is a great person, a great professional, who has an incredible talent, without a doubt is our best player in the Brazilian team," he added.

"Having him with us is a privilege, particularly me, when I have Neymar on my side, I feel much stronger, as do all my team-mates. 

"I think he also feels the same, we motivate each other more, hug each other more and that makes us stronger."

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