MOSCOW (Agencies): Brazil forward Neymar’s playacting makes people laugh, former Netherlands forward Marco van Basten said on Friday.
Speaking in his role as FIFA’s chief officer for development, Van Basten said the Brazilian star needed to take a look at himself.
“It’s not a good attitude in general. You have to try to do your best and be sporting and if you act too much, it is not going to help,” he told reporters. “That’s a point in which I think he should personally understand his situation.” He added: “It’s always nice if we have some humour in the game and he makes people laugh and that is positive.”
Neymar, who remains the most fouled player in the tournament, was undoubtedly the victim of some tough tackling at the World Cup but his playacting and diving made him a figure of mockery, especially in Europe.
However, Carlos Alberto Parreira, the head of FIFA’s technical study group at the World Cup, said Neymar was often on the wrong end of some rough treatment.
“He gets knocked around a lot, he suffers a lot of fouls, sometimes he goes down unintentionally. He attracts this sort of publicity but for us [Brazil] he is still a player who makes a difference,” said Parreira, who coached Brazil at the 1994 and 2006 World Cups. Brazil’s bid for a sixth world title ended when they lost 2-1 to Belgium in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Van Basten dismissed criticism of his meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he only discussed the sport and did not raise the downing of a plane which killed 196 people from the Netherlands.
Pressure has built on Russia from the Netherlands since its government announced in May that it was holding Moscow legally responsible for its role in the July 2014 missile strike that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, claiming 298 lives.
Van Basten said he was only at the Kremlin last Friday to discuss matters related to the World Cup with a delegation from football’s governing body. Billed by the Kremlin as a “meeting with football legends,” the group posed for pictures with Putin and held a round-table discussion that celebrated Russia’s hosting of the World Cup.
“We were talking only about football and about the tournament,” Van Basten told The Associated Press on Thursday. “I am aware of the fact that a lot of families in Holland, they have a problem with what happened with the airplane. But this is another matter. I was just asked to come there and have a chat about football.”
Jerry Skinner, a lawyer representing victims’ families, was quoted as saying earlier this week that Van Basten should have told Putin to take responsibility for the deaths.