Brazil coach Tite tried to calm the furore over Neymars histrionics against Mexico, after the forward claimed the criticism was designed to put him off his game
After another controversial match in which he was accused of diving and feigning injury, Neymar insisted the hum of talk around his behaviour was just opponents trying to put him off his game.
Juan Carlos Osorio, without mentioning Neymar by name, had made clear he felt his antics and fake fouls had been responsible for Mexico losing their rhythm as, after a promising start, they were beaten 2-0 by Brazil.
Osorio, the Mexico coach, said: I think its 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 mans sport and I think there shouldnt be so much acting.
The incident that most riled him came midway through the second half when he tangled with Miguel Layn, who did tread on his ankle, although with nothing like the force Neymar made out.
Neymar, though, was dismissive. I think its more an attempt to undermine me than anything else. I dont much care for criticism, not even for praise because this can influence in a way the athletes attitude. In the last two matches I didnt talk to the press because there are too many people talking, getting excited. I dont know if theyre showing off. I am here to win with my teammates.
Those who have suggested Neymar lacks self-awareness are unlikely to be won over. For him to accuse others of showing off takes chutzpah of the highest order. Far more persuasive was Tite who, once again, was an admirable voice of calm amid the Brazilian storm. I saw what happened, he said. Look at the video and against the video you can say nothing.
And he is right, of course. The video does show Layn standing on Neymar. Whether it was deliberate or not is extremely difficult to say, but it could easily have been a red card. He preferred to regard Osorios words less as a conspiracy than as something said in the heat of the moment.
Real Madrid have denied making an offer for the forward after Televisin Espaola, a state-owned public service broadcaster in Spain, claimed that a deal of 310m (274.43m) had been struck for the Brazil international.
Madrid, who have won the last three Champions League titles, denied the reports as outright false.
Given the information issued tonight by TVE on a supposed offer of Real Madrid to PSG and player Neymar, Real Madrid CF said that this information is outright false, said the club. Real Madrid has not made any kind of offer to PSG or the player.
Real Madrid is surprised that Spanish public television has been able to broadcast absolutely false information without anyone from this medium having contacted any of the parties to contrast the alleged information that could easily have been denied.
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