Barcelona’s Neymar is probably the most disrespected and detested player in Spain. It’s hard to differentiate cause from effect when it comes to the kicks and insults he is regularly subjected to and his entitled, brash, and showboaty disposition, but the fact remains that many players do not much like Neymar and he does not appear to have any intention of changing his behavior. Which brings us to the dumb mini-fight he got into this weekend.
Barcelona played Granada on Saturday in a tight 1-0 win for the good guys. At one point towards the end of the match, Neymar charged down Granada’s (and formerly Barça’s) Isaac Cuenca, catching Cuenca on the foot with his late tackle. It wasn’t a great challenge, and Cuenca’s rolling on the pitch did appear legitimate, but it didn’t seem like all that big of a deal.
This basically run-of-the-mill foul made Granada’s Rubén Vezo mad. Vezo, who was nearby, stalked toward Neymar and had some words for the Brazilian that were presumably something stronger than “Hey man, that wasn’t very nice, you shouldn’t have done that.” Neymar spun around to face Vezo and shouted his favorite Spanish insult, which basically translates to “Shove it up your ass!”
The two jawed at each other while doing that “We’re so mad at each other that we’re going to lovingly press our foreheads together and get our lips so close that, if someone took a snapshot of us, they might think we were in the midst of a hot makeout session” thing before their teammates separated them. The ref showed both players yellow cards. A typical Neymar-involved dust up, and that appeared to be all.
That was not all, though. After the match, someone found footage of Neymar and Vezo as they went into the tunnel. As the teams headed toward the tunnel, Vezo came over to Neymar and instigated things again. The two shared some words, and Vezo can be seen gesturing with his head toward the tunnel. Were those head movements meant to communicate “Wait until we get down there,” as in “I’m gonna beat your ass when we’re out of the sight of the fans and cameras”? Who knows. What we do know is that Neymar reacted to all this by pushing Vezo in the back as both players went down the stairs. Here’s video of that and the preceding incidents:
Neymar really shouldn’t be doing things like that, since pushing someone while they’re walking down some stairs is actually dangerous. In Neymar’s defense, getting the shit kicked out of him every match and hearing all sorts of insults when he reacts to these kicks in pain and, in this case, appearing to have a dude say “I’m about to fight you” can get pretty annoying. Reacting in anger at that, and continuing to humiliate defenders with his silky skills is understandable and fine. Pushing people while on stairs is not fine.
At any rate, it’s not like the league office is going to do anything about any of it one way or the other. Spain!