Lyon midfielder Thiago Mendes has received death threats in the wake of injuring Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, according to the player's wife Kelly Mendes, and his coach Rudi Garcia.
Mendes' fellow Brazilian had to be stretchered off in the dying embers of PSG's 1-0 loss at Parc des Princes on Sunday following a strong tackle, with initial reaction to the clash sparking fears that Neymar would be sidelined for a prolonged period.
Scans have since discovered that the injury is not as bad as first thought, but that hasn't stopped the Lyon man and his family from being targeted for abuse from Neymar's fans on social media.
Speaking to CNEWS earlier this week, Thiago's partner Kelly read out one such message, which said: “For your boyfriend's actions, if anything happens to Neymar, you will pay with your life. You and your family, one by one.”
Lyon boss Garcia has since spoken out on the subject, condemning those responsible and defending his player's on-field actions, claiming Thiago only had eyes for the ball at the time and that Neymar was merely unlucky to have been in a position to get injured.
“Thiago has received many death threats, and they shouldn't exist,” the 56-year-old former Roma boss told a press conference. “Today, we allow ourselves to easily insult or say horrible things.
“Thiago Mendes was sent off in Paris. I don't like the buzz around that, he attacked the ball. He was unfortunate that Neymar's foot remained under his buttock.”
Neymar's father, meanwhile, has called for officials to give his son more protection as he believes opposing teams take it in turns to kick out at the wily attacker in order to disrupt his rhythm, while at the same time sharing the fouls conceded in order to avoid cards.
He said: “Why not stop it at the beginning, with the first foul, why wait until the seventh, eighth, ninth foul?
“We are not taking the necessary measures throughout the whole game, where Neymar suffered the usual rotation of fouls, and always violent ones.
“This encourages these types of players and attitudes. If this sort of thing is allowed to continue, football will really lose a lot.
“FOR HOW MUCH LONGER WILL THE VICTIM BE THE ONE AT FAULT?”