Spanish press trying to destabilise Neymar, says Luiz Felipe Scolari
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari feels that stories about Neymar diving to get penalties and the controversy over his transfer from Santos to Barcelona were aimed to put him off his game ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
The Spanish press are orchestrating a campaign to try and destabilise Barcelona's Brazilian star Neymar ahead of this year's World Cup finals Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari claimed on Monday.
Scolari told a press conference in Lisbon that stories about 22-year-old Neymar's diving to obtain penalties and controversy over his transfer last summer from Santos were all aimed at putting him off his game as Brazil prepared to host the global football showpiece in June.
"Neymar's case is really simple, only those who close their eyes can't see it clearly for what it is," said Scolari, who guided Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title.
"Neymar is often criticised by the Spanish press because it has a vested interest that he is not at his best at the World Cup.
"We know that he is good, that he is a star. He was the decisive factor in Barcelona's games against both Real Madrid and Espanyol.
"In the last match against Atletico Madrid (1-1 in last week's last 16 first leg match), he was once again the difference.
"He unlocks a game. If he is considered the best player in the world it is because he deserves the accolade because he plays very well."
Scolari said that he was on a mini tour of Europe to reassure some players -- believed to include Chelsea's David Luiz -- about their place in the squad for the finals which he will announce on May 7.
"My list is already 95% done. "This trip is mostly for psychological reasons. We have met with players in Paris and London and we are now going to Munich.
"On Sunday we had lunch in London and transmitted a message of confidence to the players.
"We are trying to calm down those players who will be selected so that they can perform at their best for their clubs, because it is the club which pays them," added Scolari.