Diego Maradona criticises Neymar for 'clowning' during Mexico win
Argentine World Cup winner has criticised Neymar for what he described as 'clowning' during Brazil's 2-0 win over Mexico on Monday.
Neymar opened the scoring for the five-time world champions before Roberto Firmino sealed the win by tapping home a shot from inside the six-yard box but it was the post-foul antics of the Paris Saint-Germain forward that once again angered viewers.
Neymar has received a lot of criticism for playacting and feigning injury already this tournament and Maradona said that his actions were not a good example for aspiring footballers.
“It’s not a good example for soccer, and for the world of soccer, for all the kids playing," Maradona told TV show De La Mano del Diez [per Marca]
“This should be a sport of ability, of determination, a game of men, not of so much clowning. Neymar must be told that 'either you make us cry or you make us laugh.
"When the Mexican stepped on him I wanted to cry but seeing him run with the ball later I wanted to laugh."
Maradona's comments will resonate with many but there is a degree of irony in his words given that he was officially warned by FIFA last week for his behaviour in Argentina's final group game with Nigerian where he was seen giving the finger to fans following Marcos Rojo's late winner.
“Diego Maradona is obviously one of the greatest footballers that has ever lived and is a part of that [FIFA Legends Program]. We are aware of what you are referring to in terms of previous matches,” FIFA’s chief competitions and events officer Colin Smith said on Friday.
“We expect all players, former players, staff, fans and everyone to behave in a respectful manner, but having stars like Diego, [Carles] Puyol, [Javier] Zanetti, who have built up the fabric of football, and having them working with us on our goals is part of a much bigger picture.”