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'He's a sensational guy' - Filipe Luis backs 'extraordinary' Neymar

03:08 GMT 22/01/2019
Filipe Luis Neymar Brazil
The Brazil full back defended the Paris Saint-Germain star in the wake of recent criticism

Filipe Luis came out in defence of Brazil team-mate Neymar, calling the Paris Saint-Germain star a "sensational guy" despite all of the criticism he receives.

Neymar remains among the world's top players, but also among the most criticized, especially in the aftermath of this past summer's World Cup.

The forward was heavily condemned for his perceived excessive diving, with even Brazilian legend Pele stating that he cannot defend Neymar's antics.

However, Felipe Luis says there's a much warmer side to Neymar, who he counts among his favourite team-mates.

"Neymar and I have a similarity: we are very competitive. He does not like to lose, neither do I," the Atletico Madrid fullback told Globo Esporte.

"In training, because he is so light and dribbling so fast, people are sometimes afraid to get a little stronger with him. I am not!

"We have several jokes. I am like this in my day to day, at all times, everywhere. And he also really likes to compete. 

"This similarity strengthened our friendship, especially in the World Cup, when the guy opened his heart because he knows that everyone is after the same goal, we trust 100 percent in our teammates and we try to get to know the guy on the side better. He's a sensational guy."

Both Neymar and Luis were a part of Brazil's World Cup squad this past summer, a team that finished with a quarter final defeat to Belgium.

Luis also went on to compare the criticism Neymar received to that of Cristiano Ronaldo while adding that he is fond of both as players and people.

"Those who know Neymar know that he has an extraordinary heart, and he helps a lot of people and thinks a lot about others," he said.

"An idol like him tends to be more selfish, but he's often in the squad thinking of how to help the staff that is working. He strives to make everyone happy. He is always worried that his friends and family will be happy. He is a good-hearted person.

"On the field, he often has a playful demeanor. Thousands of children love and copy, but millions of other people do not like it, they find it arrogant, and that image ends up being associated with personal life. 

"But I see your acts, the affection with the fans. Cristiano Ronaldo is also considered unfriendly by what he does on the pitch and is a sensational guy. 

"Neymar knows a lot better than I do what to do with his image. He has lived in fame since he was 15, 16 years old. Those who know him are very fond of him."