Van Basten critical of Neymar theatrics; Parreira has no issue; Roxburgh highlights VAR effect

July 13 – FIFA’s technical director Marco van Basten, arguably the greatest striker of his generation, has a word of advice for Neymar: cut down on the play-acting.

The Brazilian made few friends during the World Cup with his incessant histrionics and van Basten says the Paris St Germain superstar must change that attitude for the benefit of both club and country.

Brazil’s coach Tite repeatedly defended his star player but Van Basten, who joined FIFA in 2016 as technical director, was less forgiving saying Neymar needed to take a good look at himself since he was becoming ridiculed for all the play-acting.

“He makes people laugh,” said the Dutchman. “If you are acting too much, I think everybody will understand that it’s not going to help you. I think he [Neymar] personally should understand his situation.”

Neymar was calculated to have spent almost 14 minutes on the turf injured or simulating injury during Brazil’s five World Cup games, sometimes dramatically rolling over. It started a worldwide viral trend in online videos of youth teams practising faking injury when their coach called out Neymar’s name.

However, Carlos Alberto Parreira, former Brazilian coach and head of the FIFA 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.

Former Scotland boss Andy Roxburgh, another member of the technical panel who also works for the Asian Football Confederation, said the introduction of video assistant referees had generally been a positive move.

“You might say what has that got to do with technical matters but VAR is not only there to minimise refereeing mistakes, it’s also had a deterrent effect on the pushing, pulling and tugging that you saw in the early games,” said Roxburgh. “That’s almost been eliminated now and that means people have more freedom to move.”

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