Some people say that one of the greatest tragedies that can befall you as a person is to meet one of your heroes.
So many people who others have admired from afar turned out to be utterly deplorable swine in person, and that can shatter a lot of illusions.
I have no illusions about Neymar.
I would love to meet that guy and talk football with him; his greatest moments, his finest goals, to marvel at how good he is.
I would pay money just to watch that guy train.
As a football fan, it would be a treat. He’s poetry in motion.
But I would have to open any such meeting by firstly kicking him squarely in the nuts.
Because Neymar is a horror of a human being, and before we got to how gifted he is as a player I’d have to deal with the more unpleasant truth that he is a man who otherwise I wouldn’t piss on if he was on fire.
A cheat, a money grubber, disloyal, arrogant, beyond all doubt just a nasty little individual who would be an object of outright loathing if he wasn’t so good with a ball.
Now look, I will certainly accept that natural talent to that degree can breed some of those qualities, but that’s not automatic.
There are footballers, athletes, creative types, who are possessed of almost unbearable genius who aren’t also complete muppets.
There’s an element of choice involved in who you become, no matter what the circumstances are.
And a footballer chooses to be a whiny little bitch who moans about every slight touch on him and dives like a submarine commander on manoeuvres. He chooses whether he throws an elbow or takes care when going for a high ball.
And on the biggest night of a young players life he doesn’t, as Neymar did last night, snub the kid’s offered handshake at the end just because he can dish out, but can’t take, a little verbal.
Neymar is a pitiful little creature who just happens to be spectacularly gifted with a football.
That doesn’t excuse his deplorable lack of any other qualities.
Ralston might never scale the footballing heights like he has, but you can buy class and some folk just have class.
Neymar is not one of them.
Ralston gave him a lesson last night, but one Neymar will never be able to comprehend.