Neymar has insisted he will not change the way he plays despite being elbowed in the head by Bolivia’s Yasmani Duk while playing for Brazil last week.
During the Selecao’s 5-0 thrashing of Bolivia in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Natal, Brazil, an inspired Neymar was left with a bloodied face after a 63rd-minute clash with Duk, per the Telegraph:
Neymar’s face left covered in blood during Brazil’s World Cup qualifier against Bolivia https://t.co/OK6VFx1cPS
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) October 7, 2016
The Barcelona star was harried all match by the Bolivians but still managed to score once and set up two other goals, and he is adamant he will not alter his style, per Javier Giraldo in Sport:
I am not going to change, of course I won’t change. People have to know that when you go on the pitch I have my way of playing and my way of playing is this, to dribble, to score goals, to help my teammates and I’m happy playing this way. If people aren’t, there’s nothing I can do. In football you give elbows and kicks, but not everyone can dribble. I won’t change my way of playing.
I think I’m going to have a scar for life.
New York Cosmos forward Duk accused Neymar after the match of "being a bit too cocky" and claimed that all he was trying to do when he clashed with the 24-year-old was cut out an attacking move, per AS.
He also proffered the two-time La Liga winner a piece of advice: "To become the best player in the world, he’s got to stop this ‘Charlie Big Bollocks’ behaviour and start showing some respect for his opponents."
Unsurprisingly, it is clearly not advice Neymar plans to take.
In truth, his current style of play is hardly causing him any problems.
His goal against Bolivia was his 49th for Brazil in just 73 games, and he is already closing in on exalted company despite still being in the early stages of his career, per Squawka:
Goals at international level for Brazil:
Zico (48) https://t.co/AIOXDErT9u
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 10, 2016
Having crashed out of his home World Cup with Brazil in 2014, Neymar led the national side to an Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016 in the summer and likely has many more accolades to follow.
As well as twice winning the Spanish title with Barca, he also picked up a UEFA Champions League medal in 2015, and was third on the FIFA Ballon d’Or shortlist—behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo—last year.
Neymar is already one of the world’s top players and his tricks and flair are a big part of his game.
Duk is not the first player who has tried to muscle him out of the game, nor will he be the last, but for now, what Neymar is doing seems to be working and a bleeding head is clearly not going to change him.