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Neymar Sr defends PSG star against diver reputation

21:19 EAT 25/03/2019
Neymar PSG
The 27-year-old's father admits that he would rather his son pull out of challenges instead of getting injured, but insists he is protecting his son

Neymar's father has spoken in defence of the Paris Saint-Germain attacker against his reputation as a persistent diver.

The 27-year-old has been accused of "exaggerating" fouls by opponents and going "too far" by rolling on the ground under minimal or no contact. 

Many have said the Brazil star's antics make it "frustrating" to play against him and have seen him earn notoriety as a cheater.

And Neymar Sr. says he encourages his son to pull out of some challenges to prevent himself getting injured, but has denied suggestions he wants him to con referees.

"I told him: 'Oh, Neymar, if you play, you play'," he told UOL. "I particularly think Neymar should not get into duels at certain times, because he would not win.

"When I explain this, they say: 'So you asked Neymar to dive? So you're responsible for him diving?' No, I'm not responsible for him diving. I am responsible for protecting him.

“I don’t think Neymar is spoiled on the pitch. I don’t see anybody protecting him on the field. What does it mean to be overprotected in sports? Is Neymar an overprotected player? No. Neymar is a overprotected son. I will overprotect my son, it’s my right."

He added: "One piece of advice I give my son is that he does not lose the joy of playing football. Let him keep playing however he thinks is right regardless of the outcome. Of course he plays to win, but he has to play with joy."

The player's father also took a swipe at the press, which he says tends to tell lies about Neymar.

"The press is responsible for a lot that happens, because it has power," he said. "It has power, because it takes information. Sometimes you just publish information to be the first [to spread] it, it is not good. It has to be truthful information. From time to time, the press helps these social networks get things out first without the whole truth."

Neymar has been out of action since January with a foot injury and is expected to return next month.

The former Barcelona forward has played 20 games in all competitions for PSG this season and has scored 20 times, setting up a further 11.