Former Brazil striker Ronaldo has rubbished allegations of play-acting against Neymar, claiming that he needs more protection from referees.
Ronaldo was part of two triumphant Brazil squads, picking up World Cup titles in 1994 and 2002. In total, he scored 15 World Cup goals.
While he was the star of his generation, Neymar is the main man carrying the weight of Brazil’s expectations this year. He scored in the 2-0 win over Mexico, which booked their place in the quarter-finals, but was accused by opposition coach Juan Carlos Osorio of diving.
“I am against all these opinions (on Neymar acting). He is an intelligent player in his movements and on how to defend himself from being tackled,” Ronaldo said, according to Sky Sports.
“I don’t think referees have been protecting him enough. When people repeatedly hit me, I would feel a sense of unfairness.
“Criticism is nonsense. TV shows and newspapers just want to fill the space.”
Brazil is set to face Belgium in the last eight on Friday, with kick-off scheduled for 18h00 GMT.