The Brazil coach believes that his key forward is being singled out by opposing defenders just as he saw with the Real Madrid superstar during his time as Portugal bossBrazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari says that the rough treatment dished out to Neymar at the World Cup reminds him of how Cristiano Ronaldo was handled during his time as coach of Portugal.
The Barcelona forward has been one of the tournament’s standout performers so far, hitting four goals in four games, but is a slight doubt for the hosts' quarter-final with Colombia after picking up a knock during the penalty-shootout victory over Chile.
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"I have already experienced this at Euro 2004, when I was the coach of Portugal," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Then it was Cristiano Ronaldo in the viewfinder. Always subject to 'special' marking.
"I remember that in the semi-final against the Netherlands he was hit hard after just five minutes and he was forced to quit in the second half.
"Neymar is undergoing the same treatment as Cristiano. Every game he ends with swollen legs. After five minutes of the game against Chile he was hit violently."
Scolari also admits that he is now unsure as to whether the Barcelona forward will be able to shake off his thigh complaint for Friday’s showdown in Fortaleza.
"He has been a hero," the coach added, "but I do not know if he will recover for Friday against Colombia.”