Many football fans were angered by Neymar’s antics in Brazil’s win over Mexico, but the man himself is refusing to admit he did anything wrong.
The Selecao ran out 2-0 winners in Samara on Monday, thanks to goals from Neymar and Roberto Firmino, who came on as a late substitute. They will now face Belgium in the quarter-finals.
But the game was overshadowed by the Paris Saint-Germain star appearing to playact and overexaggerate contact when fouled. Neymar says he feels victimised by the reaction.
“I think it’s more an attempt to undermine me than anything else.
“I don’t much care for criticism, not even for praise because this can influence in a way the athlete’s attitude. In the last two matches I didn’t talk to the press because there are too many people talking, getting excited. I don’t know if they’re showing off. I am here to win with my teammates.
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio had some rather strong thoughts on the situation: “I think it’s a shame for football. We wasted a lot of time because of one player. We stopped too often.
“I think this is a very negative example for the world of football and all the children who are following this game. This is a strong sport, a man’s sport and I think there shouldn’t be so much acting.”