March 28, 2023

Neymar stands up for opponent booked for showboating

They say that football is supposed to be a game where the players on the pitch entertain those in the stands. Whether that is done with a bit of skill, a piece of technique, or even a fantastic tackle is down to the moment of the game. However, many fans have shown a disregard for the sanitised nature of football at the moment.

Many moments in-game which fans love are now being treated as punishable offences, from previously-sound tackles to moments of pure genius within the sport.

One moment from the recent weekend round of matches which has caused a lot of consternation revolves around flair play. When Paris Saint-Germain took on Olympique Lyonnais at the weekend, it was the flagship match on the French domestic calendar. OL are a giant of the game, and one of the few who can potentially compete with PSG at the top end of the pitch.

During the match – which was a hugely entertaining spectacle – various moments of skill were shown. It was a fantastic game, full of flair and invention. When Lyon to the pitch against Troyes in midweek, though, things were different.

Lyon playmaker Lucas Paqueta attempted to carry out a ‘rainbow flick’ – a skill that involves looping the ball over the players head, and that of the opponent, before running onto the ball again. Paqueta attempted to pull off the trick, but the game was soon stopped and referee Stephanie Frappart produced a yellow card. To the bewilderment of those on the pitch, it was aimed at Paqueta for showboating.

The player, who had already scored in a 3-1 win, was incredulous at the decision and looked absolutely baffled. With the game already in stoppage time, it was seen as a frivolous decision. And now, PSG star Neymar has weighed in.

What did Neymar say about Lucas Paqueta being booked for showboating?

The Brazil legend came out to the immediate defence of the player. Speaking about the actions on his social media platform, Neymar posted: “This episode is very, very sad, receiving a yellow card for a dribble. The technical gesture is a solution, no matter where it takes place and no matter what minute it is performed.

“The same thing happened to me last season. This year, it’s happened to Paqueta. Honestly, I don’t understand the reasons. The famous ‘Joga Bonito’ is over. Enjoy while it lasts.”

Neymar himself has already been booked for similar when playing in the French top-flight. During a 5-0 defeat of Montpellier last season, the Brazilian pulled off the same piece of skill before being booked by referee Jerome Brisard.

The player at the time pulled up the referee in the tunnel, and was incandescent after the match.

Fans of the game want to see players produce moments of magic, and this includes moments of skill. To declare that a skill that has been part of the football repertoire for years is suddenly disrespectful goes a long way to show why some fans feel like the game is becoming increasingly robotic.

What should have been a moment of enjoyment for fans soon turned into a moment of authoritarian sourness.