Wednesday 18 July 2018

'I just couldn’t live with myself' - John Aldridge blasts Neymar as he claims his reputation is destroyed

Brazil's Neymar grimaces in apparent pain after a tackle at the World Cup. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Brazil's Neymar grimaces in apparent pain after a tackle at the World Cup. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Ireland goals scoring great John Aldridge believes Brazilian superstar Neymar has destroyed his reputation at this summer's World Cup finals after some embarrassing play-acting from the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

Neymar was criticised yet again for some extravagant reactions to clashes with Mexico players in his side's 2-0 last-16 win on Monday, with his latest performance notable as much for his play-acting as his goal that paved the way for a Brazil win.

Now Aldridge has given a brutal verdict on Neymar, as he suggests football deserves a better candidate to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the leader of the game in the coming years.

"Neymar has ambitions to take over from Messi and Ronaldo as the greatest player in our game, but I believe it will be a dark day if achieves that aim," declares Aldridge.

"This guy has gone out of his way to tarnish his reputation at this summer’s World Cup in Russia and I’m sure I have not been alone in wanting to jump through the TV and give the little clown a slap for some of his antics.

"There is no doubt that Neymar is a good player and when he does what he does best, he is a great to watch, but I could not stand some of the antics he got up to in the group stages.

"He is terrible at diving and yet tries to do it any time an opponent goes near him, with theatrics when he hits the floor as he rolls… and rolls…. and rolls and rolls is embarrassing. 

"This is a guy blessed with incredible talent, but he has a horrible side to his character and as for his attitude towards referees, well something has to be done about it."

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Brazil’s Neymar during a last-16 World Cup game against Mexico (Sergei Grits/AP)

Aldridge is calling for VAR to be used to name and shame cheats if referees fail to punish them during the game, as he believes that may be the only way to eradicate the virus sweeping through the game.

"Neymar was humiliated in the game against Costa Rica last week as he fell over in the box as if he had been shot and was initially given a penalty,: he adds. "Yet TV replays confirmed it was just the finger of a defender that brushed off him as he hopes of conning the referee into giving him a penalty were dashed.

"It was shameful and then it got worse as Neymar obnoxiously told the referee not to touch him when he was right in his face. Who does he think he is?

"There is a real opportunity now with VAR being used at this World Cup to clamp down on the diving and cheating that has been so annoying in our game for so long.

"Fining players for diving will not affect them as a guy like Neymar is earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a week and won’t care about a little fine, but he will be punished by a yellow or red card that rules him out of a World Cup game or two.

"Even if we have to wait until after the game to hand out the punishments, players would stop this ugly cheating if they knew there was a serious threat of getting suspended for a big game.

"Imagine the impact on the sport if Neymar was given a one-match ban for his disgraceful antics in the Costa Rica game? It would have sent shock waves through all the divers and in an instant, I bet they would have discovered how to stay on their feet.

"Personally, I just couldn’t live with myself if I was caught on camera diving and cheating, then rolling around pretending I’m injured. My family and friends would laugh at me if I did that in my playing days, but I guess times have changed."

Read John Aldridge in the Sunday World every weekend.

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