'It was totally inappropriate' - Neymar backed by Hazard in diving debate

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The Brazil superstar was the subject of intense criticism during the World Cup, but he has been backed by his Belgian counterpart

Eden Hazard has defended Neymar over the treatment he received during the World Cup.

Neymar was widely criticised for his diving exploits, as Brazil fell to Belgium in the quarter-finals.

The PSG superstar did score twice during the tournament, in wins over Costa Rica and Mexico, having overcome a serious metatarsal injury.

Neymar hit out at those who criticised him following the competition, and Hazard has sympathy for his Brazilian counterpart.

"Totally inappropriate," he told HLN, when asked about the rough treatment Neymar sustained.

"Neymar suffered the same injury two months before the World Championships as I did in June 2017 - a break between the ankle and the foot. He was out for a month and a half. 

"I can assure you: the body is not immediately ready for top performance again. Yet in Russia all responsibility came to his shoulders. He had to be the star of the tournament, he had to carry Brazil to the world title, he had to dribble, and all media peeked.

"Plus, I know Neymar: he also wants to give the audience something. 

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"You cannot criticise someone like that who did not even play a bad World Cup."

Neymar has enjoyed a sparkling start to the season, scoring 11 goals in 11 games in all competitions.

Hazard, meanwhile, recently won the Premier League Player of the Month award, and has scored seven goals in eight league games.

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