Dani Alves has defended Brazil and Barcelona team-mate Neymar following his red card on Wednesday, stating referees are unable to handle the forward’s on-field personality.
Brazil captain Neymar was shown a second yellow card during the 1-0 Copa America defeat to Colombia following an injury-time melee after appearing to kick the ball into full-back Pablo Armero before seemingly seeking to headbutt Jeison Murillo.
Neymar later claimed he was being unfairly treated by officials – a view shared by Alves, who suggested referees are too often keen to be the stars of the show.
“The blame is on the referees. They know he has personality. The [second] yellow card he received was wrong,” the full-back told Globo TV.
“They have to stop thinking that they are the protagonists. They are there to referee the game.
“This happens in every game against Brazil. You have to be strong and calm to overcome difficult moments.”
The defeat leaves Brazil with work to do to progress out of Group C – level on points with Colombia and Venezuela, the latter facing Peru on Thursday.
“Now they are all against Brazil but we need to be calm. Despite their young age, this group is experienced,” added Alves.
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