Neymar may be a €222 million footballer, but the Paris Saint-Germain forward will never receive the plaudits of Lionel Messi unless he cuts out the theatrics, says Celtic defender Mikael Lustig.
The Brazilian departed Barcelona for the French capital over the summer in a record-breaking transfer.
Such a switch was intended to take him out of the shadow of Messi and Co at Camp Nou and allow him to prosper as the leading light in another star-studded squad.
Lustig, though, has warned that while there is no questioning the 25-year-old’s ability, his attitude may end up denying him the plaudits which continue to be bestowed upon an iconic former team-mate.
After seeing Neymar booked for diving in a Champions League clash at Parkhead on Tuesday, Lustig said: “It was the same as usual from Neymar. He is an unbelievable footballer but we have seen the other stuff before and we will see it again.
“I have said before that it’s part of his game. He tries to over-react a bit to make the defender step off. We will see it again and again.
“If he wants to be liked as much as Messi, maybe he needs to stop that.”
Lustig added after a 5-0 defeat for Celtic which saw 18-year-old defender Anthony Ralston involved in a long-running battle with Neymar: “He’s up there with the best already – he’s so sharp and is an amazing footballer.
“Neymar is probably the toughest opponent in the world right now but Anthony did well.”
PSG’s big-money signing was among the goals in Glasgow, along with fellow frontmen Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.
While he may not be a fan of some of the methods employed by the Ligue 1 giants, Lustig concedes that they are now a force to be reckoned with on a continental stage.
The Sweden international said: “PSG are probably up there with the very best teams I have faced. They have world-class players in every position.
“They are probably better than Barcelona last year with no weak links. Every single player is unbelievable on the ball.
“If you spend a lot of money, it is no shock you will have a team like that.”