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Once a Critic of Neymar, Brazil Coach Tite Now Comes to His Defence

07/04/2018 - 12h49

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CAMILA MATTOSO
DIEGO GARCIA
LUIZ COSENZO
SÉRGIO RANGEL
KAZAN

"Winning and losing is part of the game. Faking a situation, that's not part of the game. It's a bad example for youngsters, for kids who are growing up, for my son." That's what Tite had to say about Neymar after a Brazilian League game in 2012.

Once a critic of Neymar, Tite has become one of his biggest supporters during the World Cup. He's even made a point of sticking up for him when asked about something else. Of the eight interviews he has given in Russia, he defended Neymar in six of them, even when he wasn't specifically asked about the forward.

No Brazil player has received the support that Neymar has from his head coach, nor have any of them been criticized as much as he has.

AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND
Brazil's coach Tite arrives to a press conference at the Samara Arena stadium on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Mexico on July 1, 2018 in Samara
Brazil's coach Tite arrives to a press conference at the Samara Arena stadium on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Mexico on July 1, 2018 in Samara

Neymar got stepped on during the Brazil game against Mexico, which marked the forward's best World Cup performance so far. While on the ground, he tossed and turned in a way that was reminiscent of 2012, when soccer forward Emerson Sheik was red-carded.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio complained about how Neymar had faked an injury and expressed himself in a way that was similar to what Tite had said back in 2012. "It's not an example for soccer or for kids who watch soccer. It's a sport for men, just like other sports, and there's no room to be clowning around this much."

Neymar was asked a question during the FIFA press conference, but Tite, who was next to him, stepped in before the forward could answer.

"I'm not going to answer Osorio. I saw the images," the Brazil coach said. "To those who are watching me, the video is available. We don't question such footage."

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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