Figo defends Neymar’s style of play

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Former Portugal international Luis Figo has leapt to the defence of Barcelona star Neymar, dismissing criticism of the Brazilian's flamboyant style of play.

Figo, who represented Barca for five years before making a controversial switch to bitter rivals Real Madrid in 2000, insists the player is entitled to play how he sees fit and that recent criticism is unwarranted.

Neymar has faced criticism in the past for going to ground easily, and he faced a fresh barrage of condemnation in the wake of Barca's victory over Valencia.

The forward was accused of inciting Valencia's supporters in an incident that led to a fan throwing a plastic bottle at several players as they were celebrating a goal.

"That's Neymar's way of playing," Figo told Cadena Cope. "If it annoys anyone, that's their problem.

"He's trying to be the best [he can be], that's football and that's his style. Like I say, if that gets to some people, it's their problem."

When asked to compare the quality of Barcelona's feared frontline of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to Real Madrid's BBC – Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo – Figo gave a diplomatic response.

He said: "They're three fantastic players. They're all impressive, some of the best players in the world.

"I enjoy their football, as I do with all good players. I won't compare them with the BBC [Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo], though."