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Neymar hits back at World Cup playacting criticism

Neymar hits back at playacting criticism
© Reuters
Brazil forward Neymar reacts to criticism of his 2018 World Cup theatrics by claiming that people "will never understand" what he goes through.

Brazil forward Neymar has hit back at criticism of his World Cup theatrics by claiming that people "will never understand" what he goes through.

The 26-year-old was widely panned for instances of diving and playacting at Russia 2018, leading to memes of the player dominating social media sites and a TV advert poking fun at the Brazilian being broadcast in South Africa.

Neymar has taken the mockery in his stride but made it clear that the harsh treatment he receives at the hands of opposition defenders is no joke.

"Do you think I want to suffer tackles all of the time? No, it is painful, it hurts," the Paris Saint-Germain star is quoted by Sky Sports News as saying.

"After the games I stay back for four or five hours putting on ice, it's complicated but if you haven't experienced that you will never understand. I saw [the jokes], but I took them with a humour.

"Even yesterday I posted on Instagram a joke with the children about it. My football is to dribble, to face the opponent, I can't stand in front of the opponent and say 'my dear, excuse me I want to score a goal', I can't do that.

"I have to dribble past him, I have to try to do something and he will not allow me to go past and he will try to foul me. A lot of time I'm faster and lighter than other players and they tackle me, and the referee is there for that."

Neymar faced a race against time to be ready for the World Cup after breaking his foot in February, an injury which initially looked likely to rule him out of the tournament.

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An upset Neymar during the World Cup quarter-final game between Brazil and Belgium on July 6, 2018
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