Brazilian star Neymar looks back on his prime before the World Cup | Sports

PARIS (AP) — Was that really Neymar?

You had to blink and look again, but yes, it was him, running down the left touchline into stoppage time desperately trying to keep the ball in play last weekend during a 1-1 home draw with Monaco. in the Parc des Princes.

Neymar, the self-indulgent prince of PSG for so many years, worked as hard as anyone on the pitch. Yes, you read the last part right.

In what is great news for Brazil before the World Cup in Qatara slim, athletic Neymar looks fitter and sharper than he has for several years after being dogged by concerns about his fitness, questions about his lifestyle choices and dragged down by nagging foot injuries.

Since joining PSG for a world-record €222m (then $263m) in 2017, Neymar has appeared in just 92 league games out of a possible 190, a remarkably low 48%.

Then there was his attitude, his irritating attempts to humiliate opponents or berate teammates for not giving him the ball, only to fall short when PSG really needed him deep in the Champions League.

That seems to have changed too.

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