The criticism levelled at Neymar has become “too much”, according to former Brazil international Gilberto Silva.
After recovering from a metatarsal injury just in time to make the trip to Russia, Neymar scored twice in five games as Brazil were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals, though he was roundly criticised in the media for his histrionic reactions to challenges.
Former Brazil international Julio Baptista admitted Neymar can go “too far” when on the receiving end of challenges, while Selecao legend Ronaldo acknowledged after their exit that more was expected of the world’s most expensive player.
While conceding that the Paris Saint-Germain striker fell short of his own high standards, Silva believes Neymar, along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are held to higher – and sometimes unfair – standards.
“Until a certain point, I can understand the criticism [of Neymar],” he told reporters.
“But then it starts to become too much. I understand it, he’s growing up. He has a lot to learn, and he’s going to learn that. And I think because he’s a big player, everyone wants to talk about the big player.
“If it was somebody else I have seen in the competition, they do some mad things, but nobody talks about them.
“But if it’s Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo it was the same, or if it was [Lionel] Messi. They pick someone for whom they can sell information [stories].”