Many football fans find it incredibly difficult to warm to Neymar because of his on-field antics.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is an expert when it comes to using the referee to gain an advantage. For the Brazilian, it’s part and parcel of his game and always has been.
“Neymar never really participated in the sort of informal street football that toughened so many of his compatriots,” South American football writer Rupert Fryer explained in an article on Goal.com earlier this year. “Hot-housed from adolescence, the one constant of Neymar’s youth was an official being there to give him free-kicks.”
However, look past all of the theatrics and you’re left with a phenomenal player.
The most expensive footballer of all time is capable of destroying any defence on the planet and showed his class once again in PSG’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday night.
The 26-year-old scored PSG’s second goal of the night following a lightning-quick counter-attack and posted some impressive statistics over the course of the 90 minutes.
However, Neymar’s playacting left a sour taste in the mouth of Jurgen Klopp, who made his feelings clear about the South American after his side’s defeat at the Parc des Princes.
“So many interruptions in a game like this,” a visibly perturbed Klopp said on beIN Sports. “Everybody knows what they’re going to do - especially what Neymar wants to do - and then they got 50 free-kicks.
“Three times in a row we’ve won the Fair Play table in England and here today we look like butchers.
“They go down in each situation, it’s unbelievable.”
When asked: “So, too much playacting, for you, in particular from Neymar?”
Klopp replied: “I said what I had to say. That’s it.”
He then abruptly walked out of the interview, refusing to elaborate further.
Klopp was then asked a similar question in his next interview with Viasport Fotball’s Jan Aage Fjortoft and almost lost the plot, urging the former Norway international to show the guts to say what *he* really felt about Neymar.
As the Guardian’s Barney Ronay pointed out on Twitter, Klopp was desperate to call Neymar ‘a git’ - and probably much worse - but just about showed enough restraint to avoid insulting the Brazilian.
However, no insults were necessary. It’s clear how Klopp feels about Neymar after Wednesday’s match.