Brazil defender Thiago Silva thinks the special attention Neymar is getting from defenders at the World Cup is “normal” because his skills make him difficult to stop.
Neymar, who only returned from a fractured metatarsal last month, looked close to his best on Monday when Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals in Russia.
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar was often at the centre of things, as he scored and played a key role in Roberto Firmino getting the second.
But he also received criticism for what Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio described as “acting” when Miguel Layun appeared to step on his ankle.
However, Silva does not believe rough treatment is anything new for Neymar.
Foto: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF pic.twitter.com/rlwHZFIrZs
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) July 2, 2018
“This is normal because [Neymar] has many qualities,” Silva told reporters. “The players who defend against him make fouls because it’s always hard to defend Neymar and take the ball without fouling him. But it was a tough game.”
In the last eight Brazil will face Belgium, who came from two goals down to sensationally beat Japan 3-2 with a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Nacer Chadli.
Silva recognises the talent at Roberto Martinez’s disposal, but is adamant Brazil are the favourites regardless of the opposition.
“Belgium are very strong physically and technically,” the centre-back said. “Belgium deserve to play in the last 16.
“I think that in all competitions Brazil is the favourite, but we know that’s not enough. We have to work hard and give our best in every game if we want to win the title.
“We will continue to work and rest well because Friday’s game will be even more difficult.”
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