Neymar would be a better player ‘if he dedicated himself more to playing football’, according to Mexico’s Miguel Layun.
Brazil advanced to a World Cup quarter-final against Belgium with a 2-0 win over Mexico in Samara on Monday, condemning El Tri to a last-16 exit for the seventh finals in succession.
Neymar proved to be the central figure, scoring the first and setting up Roberto Firmino’s late second, either side of an altercation with Layun, who appeared to intentionally tread on his opponent’s ankle.
The Paris-Saint Germain forward reacted dramatically, writhing around on the turf, before receiving treatment and returning to the fray.
Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio was critical of Neymar in his post-match media conference, and Layun believes it is a shame such a talented player allows less favourable aspects to creep into his game.
‘We know Neymar and he likes to be the protagonist on and off the field. It’s obvious,’ Layun said.
‘Anyone who has seen the game knows exactly what I’m referring to. He’s like that. His personality is like that. You have to leave that aside and wish him the best like always.
‘I think he’s a player with a lot of talent who hopefully one day dedicates himself to playing a little more.
‘The truth is he’d be more spectacular if he dedicated himself more to playing football instead of…doing other things. Ultimately, I think that’s what’s important.
‘I think maybe he was a bit worried and that was his way of getting rid of the stress he had.’
Despite failing to rid themselves of their second-round curse, Layun was proud of Mexico’s campaign in Russia.
‘A collective group’s dream is over and I think that of the country as well,” he said. ‘We can’t enjoy the World Cup any more.
‘But, I’m still proud, I’m happy with the job we’ve all done, with the support of the people, it never stopped and was there in all the stadiums we played in. I think they also see our total commitment to trying to reach the goal.’
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