Uruguay’s veteran skipper and defensive hard man, Diego Lugano, has labelled Neymar a diver ahead of his country’s Confederations Cup semi-final clash with Brazil on Wednesday night.
32-year-old Lugano is probably quaking in his boots at the prospect of stopping high-flying Neymar, who came into the Confed Cup as the most hyped player on the planet following his big money move to Barcelona, and who has lived up to the hype with three scorching goals so far.
Lugano will patently start as underdog in the competition against sprightly goal menace Neymar, and so has used his years of wily experience to strike a mental blow ahead of the sumptuous showdown in Belo Horizonte.
"Neymar can feign a foul and so we must be watchful that nobody is fooled by his ability," Lugano told reporters on Tuesday.
"Neymar is very lightweight, he can drop to the ground and fool the referee and rivals.”
At the same time as branding Neymar a cheat, Lugano has also called into question’s Brazil’s mythical propensity to play carefree, ‘samba’ football.
In fact, he says the Selecao are now a band of footballing thugs, having “abandoned the beautiful game.”
"Brazil is a team that has abandoned the beautiful game, they hit hard and they are very tough physically,” Lugano said, in comments sure to rile Brazil’s football purists.
"I have played here and it is perhaps the toughest football in Latin America and it is a tactical system they apply."
Lugano best watch out.
Not only could he face the wrath of Neymar in front of his home fans for Brazil tonight. But if he remains on loan at La Liga club Malaga from PSG next season, he will be tasked with stopping Neymar when he turns out for Spanish champions Barcelona, and that could be another sort of massacre entirely.