By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 4th July 2018
Characterised as a brat off the field and a diva on it, Neymar diving has caused outrage on social media during this year’s 2018 World Cup.
The forward’s reaction to a stamp from Miguel Lanyun stamp brought him ridicule, memes and some barbed comments from Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
Brazilian newspaper Globo Esporte ran a headline that read ‘Neymar has charmed Brazil, but annoyed the whole world’ after Seleção’s 2-0 defeat of Mexico.
“I got stepped on unfairly. I think it was off the ball, outside the game,” deplored Neymar. “I don’t think it should be done.
“But that’s the thing, they talked too much before the game – and now they’re going home,” he continued.
So are people being unreasonable in their assessment of Neymar?
And how do you defend someone who is perceived to be so petulant, self-indulgent and overrated?
I had a look at some tweets concerning Neymar diving and offered some retorts:
Neymar diving too much?
If Neymar wants to become of the greats of the game, he's got to stop thrashing around like a harpooned dolphin every time he gets a tap. It's pathetic. pic.twitter.com/HZxiEzz6OB
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 2, 2018
Of course, a Piers Morgan tweet on any topic in the world – particularly Neymar diving – wouldn’t go amiss so I’ll start here.
Individual honours aside, Neymar already has three league titles, four European trophies and seven domestic cups as well as an illustrious international career waiting to be topped up with a trophy or two.
At only 26 years of age, I’d say whether he harpoons himself to the ground too easily (diving is not exclusive to Neymar) won’t impact whether he becomes a great of the game or not.
Key differences between Hazard and Neymar:
• Hazard doesn’t dribble every time he gets the ball unlike Neymar
• Hazard passes, Neymar doesn’t
• Hazard dribbles to create space and chances, Neymar does it to showboat 🤷🏾♂️
— 🤴🏾✍🏾 (@XIXGIL) June 17, 2018
While Neymar (7.3 dribbles per a game) may attempt more dribbles than Eden Hazard (4.3), it is the Brazilian who has completed nearly three times as many dribbles than the Belgian with his 35 dwarfing Hazard’s 13.
Statistically speaking, chances are passes that result in a shot so the fact that Neymar has created 16 chances to Hazard’s 11 only further refutes the view that he only plays for himself.
Neymar’s record amount of most shots (23) and shots on target (12) are indicative of a player who is an active threat – not one that is selfish.
He is 10/1 to score the first and last goal against Belgium.
Neymar is prone to embellish and exaggerate, but he DEFINITELY got stepped on in that sequence on the sideline. VERY surprised there wasn't a VAR yellow card or something to Layun for the step, guess they decided it was accidental.
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) July 2, 2018
Neymar diving? Ives Galarcep puts it well.
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) July 2, 2018
Alan Shearer moralising about behaviour on the football field in interesting considering he kicked heads, chucked elbows and ‘won’ penalties.
Shut up Neymar, you clown. https://t.co/sh4f4nYAJb
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 3, 2018
Coming right off the back of a four-month injury, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has been the most fouled player (23 fouls) at the tournament.
Contrary to popular Neymar diving opinion Piers, the forward may reserve the right to claim he feels pain given that he’s often been the subject of several brutal and off-the-field fouls and only played a handful of minutes in months.
Going further than Neymar diving
Given how extremely low Neymar's pain threshold obviously is, did he need a general anaesthetic when he had all those tattoos done?#WorldCup
— (((Jon Benjamin))) (@JonBenjamin19) July 3, 2018
Well, I imagine he’d still be reeling from all that anaesthetic given how artful and expressive his tattoos are.