Rolling Neymar Both Praised and Lambasted

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(WFI) Neymar is in a lot of people’s mind at Russia 2018, but for complete opposite reasons.

For most Brazilian football fans, the PSG superstar is simply a hero; for millions of people around the world, he is a football impostor.

Many in the football international circles have expressed displeasure at Neymar’s excessive rolling and diving antics on display during this year’s World Cup in Russia.

No one can argue against statistics; Neymar is the most-fouled player in the Russia World Cup. Yet, his critics have called for stern action against him from referees for what is considered unnecessary injury-faking.

Neymar has scored two goals in this World Cup so far, one of them against a plucky Mexico side in the round of 16 clash to book a meeting with Belgium in the quarterfinals. It will be Brazil's seventh straight appearence in the final eight of a World Cup.

The match will be remembered among other things for Mexico defender Miguel Layun stepping on Neymar’s ankle when the Brazilian was on the ground. Neymar reacted with a display of agony that at first led some to believe the next stop for him was the hospital. Five minutes later, Neymar was on the field running as fast as ever.

Mexico’s coach Juan Carlos Osorio said the incident with Layun halted his side’s momentum as they chased the game following Neymar's opening goal, and that referee Gianluca Rocchi "favored Brazil".

"It is a shame for football, we wasted a lot of time because of one player," said the Mexico manager.

"This is a game of men that is played with intensity and not with so much clowning.

"It is a shame for all the people watching, all the children watching. There shouldn't be acting. I think this had an impact on our pace and style."

Brazil forward Neymar has defended himself against accusations:

"I got stepped on unfairly. I think it was off the ball, outside the game. I don't think it should be done. I felt the pain.

"I don't care much for criticism, or praise, because this can influence your attitude,I think it's more an attempt to undermine me than anything else," Neymar told TV Globo.

Brazil coach Tite also defended his player:

"In Neymar's defense, he has been fouled more than any other player at this World Cup and he is regularly the target of rough treatment.

Layun himself had a different view: “He is more concerned about being on the floor. If he wants to lie down, he should go home and sleep. We know Neymar and he likes to be the protagonist on and off the field. It’s obvious. Anyone who has seen the game knows exactly what I’m referring to. He’s like that. His personality is like that.”

Diego Maradona should know a thing or two about being hacked during a World Cup game, especially during that 1982 match between Argentina and Italy when he was constantly fouled by Claudio Gentile.

“He is still lacking something but he is a star,” was the analysis of Diego Maradona. “Neymar has to change the ‘chip’ in his head a little bit.”

By INSIDER Javier Monne

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