The Brazil international believes he is unfairly targeted by opposition defenders and has vowed to continue to play the game his way
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has hit back at critics of his style of play – urging them to watch mixed martial arts (MMA) instead if they enjoy seeing someone get kicked.
Few players in world football boast the technical attributes and dribbling abilities of Neymar, who has managed to successfully bring his playful style to Europe after toying with defenders in his native Brazil with Santos.
The silky forward wowed at Barcelona and has done the same at PSG, even though his spell in Paris has been interrupted by a pair of serious foot injuries.
Despite his exciting style, Neymar has rarely been far from criticism, with some accusing him of being a disrespectful showboater or reacting theatrically when fouled.
The combination of the two has seen Neymar come in for particularly rough treatment from defenders over the years and he does not understand it, adamant fans go to football games to see exciting players, not watch them get kicked.
“It may be because of how I play, the way my opponents get upset,” Neymar told Fox Sports Brazil .
“People start to give the right to the one who gives the fouls, rather than the one who dribbles, to the one who makes a mistake rather than the one who scores a goal.
“My best quality has always been dribbling. I have never stopped looking for the best version of myself in the field.
“My style is what brings the fans and the crowd to the stadium. Nobody wants to come and see kicks. If you want that, you can watch MMA or boxing.”
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Neymar made his first appearance in over two months as he came off the bench on Sunday as PSG sealed the Ligue 1 title with victory over Monaco.
And despite his absence being cited as a key reason for Thomas Tuchel’s side not advancing past the last 16 in the Champions League, his return to action could yet be timely.
PSG go in search of a domestic double when they take on Rennes in the Coupe de France final on Sunday, with Neymar set to play a role for the French champions.
His attention will then likely turn to the summer where he will form part of the Brazil team looking to win the Copa America on home soil.