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Filipe Luis Dismisses Neymar Criticism, Calls Brazil Team-Mate 'Sensational Guy'

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2019

Brazil's forward Neymar (R) and Brazil's defender Filipe Luis take part in a training session with teammates at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on June 26, 2018, on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match between Serbia and Brazil. (Photo by Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP)        (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
YURI KADOBNOV/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis has come to the defence of Brazil national team-mate Neymar, calling the Paris Saint-Germain star a "sensational guy" and saying the two have a strong friendship. 

As Goal noted, Neymar is one of the sport's most criticised players, and even Pele recently said he thought his antics are hard to defend.

Andre Penner/Associated Press

Luis spoke of the former Barcelona man in gushing terms during an interview with Globo Esporte (h/t Goal), however:

"Neymar and I have a similarity: We are very competitive. He does not like to lose, neither do I.

"In training, because he is so light and dribbling so fast, people are sometimes afraid to get a little stronger with him. I am not!

"We have several jokes. I am like this in my day to day, at all times, everywhere. And he also really likes to compete. 

"This similarity strengthened our friendship, especially in the World Cup, when the guy opened his heart because he knows that everyone is after the same goal, we trust 100 percent in our teammates and we try to get to know the guy on the side better. He's a sensational guy."

The former Chelsea man prasied his "heart" and desire to "make everyone happy."

Neymar has been a constant target of criticism since his Barcelona days, and after Pele recently made comments about his play-acting, he replied:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Neymar responds to Pelé's criticism of his playacting at the World Cup 👀 https://t.co/lTb54x3TuT

The 26-year-old was Brazil's biggest star at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, tasked with leading the team despite being at less than 100 per cent. His club season had come to an abrupt end after he suffered an injury, and he hadn't fully recovered in time for the tournament in Russia.

He played well but several instances in which he appeared to exaggerate contact stole the headlines. He also failed to make much of an impact in the quarter-final loss against Belgium.

However, he's been excellent for PSG in Ligue 1 this season, putting together some fantastic numbers:

Paris Saint-Germain @PSG_English

💥 @neymarjr has taken @Ligue1_ENG by storm 3⃣3⃣ games 3⃣2⃣ goals 1⃣9⃣ assists https://t.co/ZyWcPgY6Ow

Neymar likely won't be judged on his contributions in Ligue 1 this season, however; Les Parisiens already sport a 13-point lead in that competition and have two games in hand.

The UEFA Champions League is the true objective, and the main reason PSG splashed the cash on the Brazilian. The French giants will face Manchester United in the next round, and while that may have looked like a relatively easy tie a few weeks ago, interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the Red Devils playing some excellent football.

A strong showing against the Premier League side and a deep run in the Champions League will go a long way toward silencing some of the critics Neymar has had to deal with of late.

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