Barcelona star Neymar has played down the mounting criticism that he is a diver.
The Brazilian infuriated Glasgow Celtic in the Champions League last week, after he played a role in the sending off of Hoops skipper, Scott Brown.
Neymar claims that Brown stood on him, but the Celtic camp insists the former Santos ace milked the contact to have his opponent sent off.
After the game, Neymar was pilloried for diving, and even Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was moved to talk about “disgraceful” events at Parkhead.
Now Neymar believes that he was denied two clear penalties in Barca’s weekend win over Valladolid.
But opposing manager, Juan Ignacio Martinez, disagrees, and said that Neymar is a top-class player “with just one defect that I’m not going to say,” alluding to the striker’s alleged diving.
Neymar however, insists that he was felled both times against Valldolid, and accepts that sometimes referees simply get the tight decisions wrong.
“Both were clear,” hesaid. “But everyone makes mistakes, that is part of football.”
Meanwhile, Neymar steadily continues to improve for the Blaugrana, and the club’s fans are almost unanimous in agreement that he was worth his €65 million transfer.
He has now scored three goals for Barca, and his second-half display against Valladolid in particular was a master class of entertaining attacking menace.
And so he has been able to deflect the diving controversy by concentrating on how happy he is with the way things are going for him in Catalonia.
“I just want to help the team, in whatever position,” he said.
“I do what [coach Gerardo] Martino tells me. He decides. For Santos and Brazil I have played where I played today.
“I am happy to have started the season well and to be helping the team. For me that is the most important.”