Red mist clouds Neymar's glowing 'wonder-kid' persona
Published 18/09/2010 | 05:00
BRAZILIAN wonder-kid Neymar turned down a move to Chelsea recently, but, given the week he has had, he may be regretting his decision to stay at Santos.
The 18-year-old striker got involved in a row at the end of a league match last weekend in which he stood on an opponent's foot, causing both sets of players to start a mass brawl.
The row saw one of Neymar's team-mates, Marquinhos, getting a truncheon in the ribs after riot police were called in to break it up.
Then, just a few days later in Santos' league clash against Atletico Goianiense, Neymar crossed the line by berating his coach after he was prevented from taking a penalty.
The player had to be restrained by a linesman as he hurled a volley of abuse at Santos boss Dorival Junior, as team-mates, officials and fans looked on in shock.
Neymar has now been fined by the club and issued a grovelling apology in which he said: "The real Neymar is not the Neymar you saw yesterday. The real Neymar is the one who is always smiling and happy.
"What I did was wrong. I want to open my heart and apologise to my team-mates, to Dorival, to Santos' fans."
Brazil's coach Mano Menezes has been paying close attention to Neymar and admitted his concern for the player. "He needs to know how to behave as a stand-out player in Brazilian football and later in world football," said Menezes.
Neymar signed a contract to stay with Santos until 2015, but any more of this and Pele will be putting him on the next available flight out of Sao Paulo.