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Neymar not provoking opponents – Zidane

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has defended Neymar following claims the Barcelona star deliberately disrespects and provokes opponents.

Neymar was criticised in the wake of Barcelona’s 5-1 win over Leganes after turning on the flicks late in the game with the result beyond doubt.

Zidane does not believe Neymar is deliberately trying to provoke the opposition, though, and feels the Brazilian is just doing his own thing.

“I cannot watch inside Neymar’s head, but I don’t think it’s a provocation,” Zidane said at a news conference.

“Everyone interprets football as they see fit and he interprets it his way. And he does things that not many players can do.

“I don’t see it as him provoking [his opponents].”

Zidane was less circumspect when asked about James Rodriguez’s role at Madrid, however, and suggested there was a media agenda against the Colombia international.

“It’s annoying that you keep asking me about James,” the Frenchman added. 

“It seems that you have something against him. But he has to convince me that he should play, just like all the other players. 

“He’s doing well and my idea is to give the whole team minutes when I can.”

Tue 20 Sep, 2016
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