Sao Paulo's Rogerio Ceni: 50 per cent of Neymar's fouls are dives

The veteran shot-stopper is in no doubt that Neymar is the best player in Brazil, but called on him to stop simulating fouls and get on with the game
Santos starlet Neymar has found himself on the end of a stinging attack from Rogerio Ceni, the Sao Paulo legend accusing him of diving far too much in order to receive free-kicks.

The 19-year-old is one of the most fouled players in the entire Brasileirao, picking up 70 free kicks in just 11 outings during 2011. Along the way he has received several warnings for simulation, including a booking in the final of the Copa Libertadores against Penarol.

Asked if he believed Brazil's more skilful individuals needed more protection, Ceni was unequivocal in his belief that the youngster went to ground far too easily.

"I guarantee that less than 50 per cent of the infractions [on Neymar] are actually fouls, not even 50," the veteran goalkeeper fired on SporTV on Tuesday afternoon.

"That he is the best player in Brazil now is clear, it is no longer up for discussion. But 50% of the time, he is simulating."

Ceni last week passed the milestone of 1000 professional matches in the Sao Paulo net, and having begun his career back in 1993 the 38-year-old possesses a wealth of knowledge in local football. Continuing the chat, he was not convinced that any player required special treatment from the officials.

"No-one needs to be protected in football. The rules have to apply to everyone equally, whether they weigh 60 or 90 kilos. If it is a foul, call it a foul. If it is not, there shouldn't be a free-kick," the shot-stopper opined.

Neymar will be in action for the local Brazil team on Wednesday evening, when they take on their Argentine counterparts in Cordoba.