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Hazard: Neymar criticism is totally unacceptable

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Eden Hazard believes that criticism aimed towards Neymar’s diving theatrics at the World Cup was unacceptable

The Brazilian striker’s theatrics at Russia got more attention than his performances with fans even going on to create games called “Neymar Challenge” and the “Neymar Alphabet“.

Neymar himself confessed that he had exaggerated his reactions by falling to the ground from a challenge soon after Brazil’s shock exit at the hands of Belgium in the quarter-finals.

But Hazard feels that Neymar did not try to gain an advantage with his theatrics and instead sympathised with the pressure he must have been on from the Brazilian fans.

The Belgium captain also feels that Neymar shouldn’t have played in the first place given his long-term foot injury, which was sustained in February 2018.

“Totally inappropriate,” said Hazard on the Daily Express.

“Neymar suffered about the same injury two months before the World Championships as I did in June 2017 – a break between the ankle and the foot.

“He was out for a month and a half.”

He added: “I can assure you, the body is not immediately ready for top performance again. Yet in Russia, all responsibility came to his shoulders.

“He had to be the star of the tournament, he had to carry Brazil to the world title, he had to dribble, and all media peeked.

“Plus, I know Neymar: he also wants to give the audience something. Then you can not criticize someone like that who did not even play a bad World Cup.”