Revista de La Liga: Is Neymar a diver?
The Revista panel join in the debate....
Last Updated: 09/10/13 9:41am
Celtic manager Neil Lennon slammed the Brazilian for diving after their recent Champions League tie which led to Hoops captain Scott Brown being sent off.
But Neymar, Barcelona's big summer signing, is at present the most fouled player in La Liga with 31 fouls against him in 476 minutes played.
Here, the Revista boys give their views:
MARCELINO: I don't think he's a diver, he has been fouled a lot and made two very clear penalties in the game against Real Valladolid last weekend. I think he's a light, lively and quick player, who when he gets in contact with a defender, who doesn't go especially for the ball, he gets the foul. It's very clear, there's no real secret.
GUILLEM BALAGUE: He's certainly not as strong in the lower part of his body as Kun Aguero or Lionel Messi, so it's easier to bring him in down and he perhaps exaggerates his fall - which makes people think he's diving, but when so many people are saying 'he's a diver and a cheat', you always wonder what's behind it.
When you look at the professionals who have accused him of diving: Neil Lennon - who had a player sent off against him, Juan Ignacio Martínez - who started saying he was a diver and then tracked back and somebody, who when Lionel Messi first appeared on the scene said 'Great theatre in Catalonia' - Jose Mourinho - he is trying to influence the referees that he is a diver.
GRAHAM HUNTER: It's worth throwing in to the debate that his coach now, Gerardo Martino, said 'the playing style draws fouls' and that 'he's not exaggerating fouls'. He goes past players, he tricks them, sometimes he humiliates them, but he's also direct and running at players an awful lot at the moment, which is committing the team and is the positive side of how Barcelona are opening up opponents more regularly.
I think referees will have to be very, very brave to begin to book all these challenges - a brave referee is going to be sending off a couple of players a game, but if they're fouls they will have to do it.
The team also discussed how Neymar is getting on during Messi's absence with injury, which you can watch in the video above.