Marseille striker Valere Germain said opponents kick Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar because he makes fun of them out on the pitch.
Neymar is known for playing with flair and flamboyance and is not afraid to showboat during matches, something he has done throughout this career. However, Germain believes the Brazilian takes it too far and that is why he is targeted by opponents.
Per Marca, he said: "He's a spectacular player, but in my opinion he exaggerates a bit. When I watch him on television he annoys me, he irritates me. You get the impression he isn't happy at Paris Saint-Germain. I don't like the attitude of laughing at others, it's normal that they kick him. It's like in life, if someone laughs at you, pow! In the game earlier in the season, at the Velodrome, he was sent off because he went crazy."
Neymar has been a huge success at PSG since his summer 2017 move from Barcelona. He has 19 goals and 12 assists in 19 Ligue 1 outings to help his team to the top of the table in France.
However, he has also come under scrutiny for some of his antics on the field, in particular during the 3-2 Coupe de la Ligue win over Rennes in January. Goal showed how the Brazilian riled the opposition:
Neymar spoke about the incident after the game and said the false handshake was just "a joke" and that he was responding to provocation in his own way, per James Dutton for MailOnline.
Yet he did receive criticism from Monaco defender Andrea Raggi who said Neymar ought to show more respect to opposing players, per Goal's Robin Bairner.
Spanish football journalist David Cartlidge attempted to explain why Neymar sometimes goes too far:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca
Last point; Neymar. He's an individual again like he was too often in early Barça days. You forgive him then due to youth, eagerness to shine. At PSG he's found bad habits again as there is no system based around him. He's forced to interpret games on his own. Don't blame him...
Neymar is due to meet Germain again on Sunday as Marseille head to Parc des Princes in Ligue 1. The Brazilian has missed training ahead of the game due to illness, per Jonathan Johnson at ESPN FC. However, he has been included in the squad, as shown by the club's official Twitter account:
If he does feature Neymar can expect a hot reception from Marseille having been sent off the last time the two sides met in Ligue 1. The Brazilian was shown a second yellow card after angrily barging into Lucas Ocampos, who had just brought him down.
PSG were 2-1 down in the game when Neymar was sent off in the 87th minute but managed to snatch a draw despite the Brazilian's dismissal, thanks to Edinson Cavani's stoppage-time goal.
Neymar may find himself targeted by Marseille and, if so, will need to show more maturity than he managed the last time the two sides met. There's no doubting Neymar's talent, but his temperament is still suspect and is a vulnerability teams may look to exploit.