Diego Maradona believes Neymar needs to stop the play acting and get his head straight to become one of the world’s best.
The Brazil superstar scored in the 2-0 victory over Mexico to book a quarter-final match up in the World Cup against Belgium.
But after Neymar was blasted by fans and the Mexico boss for his sideline theatrics, World Cup-winner Maradona had some words of advice.
The Argentinian legend has a history of cheating himself for the ‘Hand of God’ goal that helped beat England in the 1986 finals.
But Maradona, 57, told Marca: “Neymar is a star player too. He is still lacking something but he is a star.
“He has to know that today diving is a yellow card and VAR exists.
“He already had one taken away against Costa Rica. Neymar has to change the ‘chip’ in his head a little bit.”
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said it was “shameful” that officials allowed the game to be delayed for so long because of Neymar’s actions.
Having already given Brazil a 1-0 lead, Neymar was sitting on the pitch after chasing the ball out of play in the 72nd minute. Mexico’s Miguel Layun approached to grab the ball and, in the process, stood on the superstar’s ankle.
Neymar squirmed on the ground for minutes afterward, only to be able to jog back into action when play resumed.
Osorio said the incident halted Mexico’s momentum as they chased an equalising goal, though he didn’t refer to Neymar by name and refused to when asked directly during his news conference.
“We had control of the match, but to me it is just shameful that so much time could be lost over one player,” the Mexico coach said.
“The delay for one player was even four minutes, and that is a lesson for even children who play. This should be a game of men and not so much clowning around.”
Neymar was also the subject of mockery for rolling over an excessive number of times after being fouled during a group-stage draw with Switzerland.
“They stepped on me; that wasn’t fair. You can’t do that,” the Brazilian star said on TV Globo after the Mexico match. “They talked a lot but now they’re going home.”
Layun insisted he didn’t intentionally step on Neymar
“In the end, it’s football. If he doesn’t want to be touched then he should do something else,” Layun said. “If he wants to be on the floor he should go lie down in his house.
“I touched him a little, but it was because when I went to collect the ball he tried to half-block me so I couldn’t. I wasn’t even looking at him. I was looking at the ball.
“The referee even told me that, ‘We’ve looked at it and it’s not been a situation that you did with the intention of touching him.'”
Mexico veteran Rafa Marquez, playing in his final match at age 39, said Neymar’s writhing didn’t come as a surprise.
“We know Neymar very well, we know his character and playing attitude and it is peculiar,” Marquez said.
Brazil coach Tite defended his player, saying: “Neymar hasn’t done anything. They have stepped on him. He just has to play, when it’s a situation about refereeing that’s [the coaches’] responsibility to talk about it.”