Soccer Great Neymar Under Fire for 'Faking Injuries'

Critics say his play-acting is an 'embarrassment'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2018 5:46 AM CDT
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Brazil's Neymar lies on the ground during the round of 16 match between Brazil and Mexico at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Monday, July 2, 2018.   (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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(Newser) – Brazilian soccer great Neymar is taking a lot of flak for one of the less appealing aspects of his style of play: his tendency to "thrash around like a harpooned dolphin," as Piers Morgan puts it, every time he makes contact with an opposing player. After Mexico lost to Brazil 2-0 in their round of 16 World Cup game Monday, coach Juan Carlos Osario blamed "fake fouls" for breaking up the flow of play and made it clear he thought Neymar had been feigning injury in an attempt to influence referees, the Guardian reports. "This is a strong sport, a man’s sport and I think there shouldn’t be so much acting," he said. Neymar was accused of similar behavior in Brazil's games earlier in the tournament.

When Mexico's Miguel Layun put his foot on top of Neymar's shin after the Brazilian had taken another dive, Neymar decide to "unleash that now-famous scream, then follow it up with a writhing, contorting, pounding-the-turf response worthy of Hollywood," writes Martin Rogers at USA Today, calling the player an "embarrassment" despite his undeniably great talent. "I've seen people get shot that take it better than this clown. What a talent; what a waste," tweeted British lawmaker Johnny Mercer. But at ESPN, Tim Vickery argues that Neymar is the result of too many Brazilian referees deeming any physical contact to be a foul, though it does seem like the player has "an exceptionally low pain threshold."

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