Peter Schmeichel has condemned Neymar’s “disgraceful” behavior in Brazil’s 2-0 World Cup win against Mexico, saying FIFA should take action against the striker’s apparent play-acting.
Neymar scored and laid on an assist as Brazil ran out 2-0 winners to book a World Cup quarter-final spot, but the win was marred by the actions of the Brazil number 10 – including when he rolled around theatrically following minimal contact from Mexico’s Miguel Layun. After the game RT special guest host Schmeichel was scathing in his criticism of what he felt was blatant cheating by Neymar.
“First of all, congratulations to Brazil. It’s nice to have one of the big names through in the tournament, we’ve said goodbye to far too many already.
“But my God, Neymar was even given the man of the match by FIFA, but we need to have FIFA looking at this, the way he behaved in this game, I can’t find any other way [of describing it] than disgraceful,” Schmeichel fumed.
“Everyone who loves football, I was looking at Twitter, people are in uproar about this,” former Denmark ‘keeper Schmeichel added.
Neymar gave his team a second-half lead when he finished a pacey Brazilian move, and then turned provider when he burst into the box to square the ball for Roberto Firmino to tap home.
But Schmeichel said despite the strong Brazilian performance, the post-match discussion was inevitably about Neymar’s antics.
“You have this character, the camera goes to him after the game, he has this kind of attraction, and all I can think about is, I wish this player didn’t play.
“Because it’ so annoying to watch… The way he’s trying to get players booked,” Schmeichel added.
The former Manchester United ‘keeper poured scorn on Neymar for the incident which occurred around the 70-minute mark, when the Brazilian reacted by rolling around when Mexico defender Layun made contact with his ankle when trying to retrieve the ball.
“[Neymar] looked like he was dying,” Schmeichel said. “I thought he’d be put on a stretcher and put in an ambulance and we’d never see him again.
“I’d strongly appeal to FIFA, this is not something we want to see in football… We’ve got VAR [video assistant referees], we must get rid of this play-acting.”
Schmeichel also said Neymar – the world’s most expensive player – was a bad influence on youngsters around the global who watch the game.
“He attracts so much attraction, all the kids are going to see this… It’s not on, it’s not what we want in football,” Schmeichel said.
The former Denmark ‘keeper said that Neymar’s quality is not in doubt, but that his behavior did not match up to other current stars of the game, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and England striker Harry Kane.
“Have you ever seen Ronaldo do it? He learned quickly when he was young that that’s not the way to do it, he had a good manager in Sir Alex Ferguson…
“Do you see Messi or Harry Kane doing that? No,” Schmeichel added emphatically, before calling on FIFA to look at the issues.
“[FIFA chief] Gianni Infantino was in the stadium, they have to look at this, because we do not want this in football…
“The first time, give [Neymar] a warning, then send him off… That’s the only way he can learn.”
Schmeichel was not alone in his views, with the internet erupting in a chorus of criticism. However, Brazil have progressed to the last eight, where they will face the winners of the Belgium-Japan game.