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Neymar slams fellow Brazilian Pele: I don’t approve of his criticism

20:05 GMT 20/01/2019
Neymar Paris Saint-Germain
Pele claimed in a recent interview that Neymar was ‘difficult to defend’ during last summer’s World Cup and the PSG star has responded

Brazil striker Neymar has said he ‘does not approve’ of Pele’s recent criticism of him.

The former World Cup winner was vocal following Neymar’s repeated diving in Russia last year and said that the 26-year-old should focus on playing football.

"Pelé's criticisms? I've found them interesting,” Neymar told Canal.

“As soon as you don't win, criticisms come. I've never been acting during the World Cup, I've just been subject to fouls. 

“Today people talk a lot about that because it's Neymar and everything is amplified. I respect Pelé's criticisms but I don't approve them.”

Pele had previously said: "It's difficult to defend Neymar for all the things he does besides playing football. I spoke with him and reminded him of his ability.”

"He was unlucky because Brazil did not win the World Cup and he was singled out.

"I've been with him in Europe twice. We talked and I explained: 'The God of football gave you the gift. What you do complicates it’,” he added.

While life for the national team may be tough for Neymar at the moment, club football certainly is not, and the former Barcelona man bagged a hat-trick in a remarkable 9-0 win against Guingamp on Saturday.

Despite appearing comfortable with Parisian life, Neymar has be consistently linked with a move away from the Ligue 1 club, something he did not rule out in same interview with Canal, though he denied anything imminent on the horizon.

"Rumours of me leaving? There have been rumours like that since I've become a pro. But there's nothing concrete. As soon as there is something certain, I'll talk about it and I'll assume it, be sure of that.”

Next up for Neymar and PSG is a French Cup last 32 fixture against Strasbourg, before league fixtures against Rennes, Lyon and Bordeaux. The Ligue 1 leaders then face a mouth-watering Champions League tie with Manchester United, something Neymar is looking forward to.

“I want to win everything, especially the Champions League, since it's every player's dream,” he said.

“United will be a good game for us and for people who like football. What do we lack in order to win the Champions League? You have to grow in this competition, everyone must attack and defend well. We were good defensively in the first games, we're getting better and better.”