Neymar turned in one of his most disappointing performances since joining Barcelona against Valencia on Sunday evening.
The Brazil international was handed a 4/10 rating by Catalan newspaper Sport and a 3/10 rating from Marca. Both publications noted the forward was visibly frustrated as a result of being targeted by Valencia’s players and was guilty of losing his cool on a couple of occasions.
Neymar was seen slapping Valencia’s Antonio Barragan after the match, while he was also accused of throwing a water bottle at the same player.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
The bottle missed Barragan, who was reportedly told by Neymar: “Shut up, I earn 10 times more than you!”
In new footage obtained by El Dia Despues - brought to our attention by 101 Great Goals - the disgruntled Neymar also almost got into a fight with one of his own players.
Video: Neymar and Jordi Alba argue
Jordi Alba was blasted by the Brazilian for not passing the ball to him and, following an exchange of words, was asked if he had a problem.
Scroll to 1 min, 23 in the video…
Fortunately for Luis Enrique, the situation didn’t escalate any further afterwards.
The Barcelona coach may not have been too concerned, either. In fact, it’s possible that he’ll be quietly pleased that his players are showing such passion on the pitch, given the team’s unexpected end-of-season slump.
Following a third successive league defeat - the first time Barça have lost three on the bounce in La Liga since February 2003 - Enrique’s men now find themselves level on points with second-placed Atletico Madrid and just a point ahead of Real Madrid.
Enrique: Barcelona deserved three points
Enrique praised his players for their efforts after the full-time whistle and insisted his side deserved all three points.
"I think we played a very good second-half, perhaps at the end with more head than heart but we still had five or six very clear chances and it wasn't to be,” he was quoted as saying by Sport. “We miss out on three points which I think we deserved to win, but football is like this.
"It's not a day to criticise the players,” he added, “it's a day to praise them."
Pique: Barcelona can still win title
Gerard Pique, meanwhile, still believes Barcelona will win the title.
"We can't be worried when you look at the way we're playing," Pique was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
"If we play like this we'll win the league, I'm convinced of that. Although it's a step backwards, playing this well will help the team mentally. We've recovered the sensations from a month ago."
Should Neymar sit out of Barcelona’s next match against Deportivo? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms