Neymar appears to have taken a shot at referee Jerome Brisard following Paris Saint-Germain’s 5-0 win over Montpellier on Saturday at Parc des Princes.
The Brazilian, sporting a shock of hot pink hair, may not have scored during the one-sided success, but he was to the fore of many of PSG’s best moves during a comprehensive win.
A black mark to his name, however, arrived after 38 minutes of the fixture, when the Brazil international was shown a yellow card by Brisard.
At that point of the game, PSG were simply leading by a single goal, but Montpellier had been reduced to 10 men as Dimitry Bertaud was sent off for handling the ball outside of his area as Kylian Mbappe went clean through on goal.
The caution in itself sparked controversy, however. Neymar was booked after an exchange with the referee, which was prompted by the official after the ex-Barcelona star performed a rainbow flick over a defender.
When the sides last met, Neymar had been criticised for showboating by Montpellier forward Andy Delort, and after such an action the referee took it upon himself to speak to the forward, who turns 28 on Wednesday.
Neymar then approached the official at the interval, by which time PSG were leading 3-0, in an incident caught on camera by Canal+.
“I just play football and he gives me a yellow card!” he is reported to have exclaimed towards the official in Portuguese.
“Tell the referee that he can’t book me,” he then complained to Marco Verratti.
Told to “speak French” by Brisard, Neymar marched to the changing room grumbling: “Speak French my ass!”
Neymar has further defended himself regarding the incident on Instagram, posting a picture of himself and simply stating in English: “I just play football.”
The post has received terrific support from around the world, with Lyon star Memphis Depay among those to have liked the statement.
Neymar has scored 13 goals in 14 Ligue 1 matches so far this season, while contributing a further six assists.
Saturday’s game ended a seven-game run in which Neymar had scored in the league, though he did contribute one assist.