Brazil football legend Romario has defended the attitude and media exposure of Santos sensation Neymar, affirming that the youngster behaves no different than he did as a teenage superstar.
Just like the 20-year-old striker, the current deputy in the Brazilian parliament burst on to the scene at a young age. Romario lifted the Rio de Janeiro State Championship twice with Vasco da Gama in his early 20s, and was top goalscorer in the Brasileirao when barely out of his teens.
Neymar's unorthodox fashion sense and ease in front of the cameras, not to mention his talent, have made him a favourite for the Brazilian media; but Romario sees no reason to worry about the youngster becoming too arrogant.
"At 18 years old, I was already a millionaire and I was always in the spotlight. That is why I understand Neymar's behaviour, he is like me 20 years ago. He is a different kind of person than Adriano, for example," the former Barcelona and PSV player explained, contrasting Neymar's focus on the pitch with the striker who has just been released by Corinthians.
"Adriano likes to live close to his roots, he prefers to stay in his old community rather than living in [upper-class Rio neighbourhood] Leblon. But let's be honest, it's more of a favela than a community. There he is more at risk of becoming wrapped up in troubles."
Romario continued to talk about recent changes in the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), which saw former president Ricardo Teixeira resign and Jose Maria Marin move into the top job. But the deputy, who was one of Teixeira's fiercest critics, is not expecting miracles from the new man.
"Nothing will change. It is sufficient to point out that the new president Marin stole a medal from the Corinthians kids, he is shameless," he fired, referring to a now infamous incident in the final of a youth tournament.
"He put it in his bag and took it home. What difference does it make? I have never hidden my contempt for Ricardo Teixeira and I am not going to start being polite now."
Romario was a key part of the team which ended Brazil's 24-year World Cup drought in 1994, scoring five goals as the Selecao won the title in the United States.