Belgium star striker Romelu Lukaku praised Brazil superstar Neymar and said that according to him the 26-year old ace forward is not an actor. Lukaku also backed the Brazilian to become the best player in the world ahead of Belgium’s quarter-final clash against Brazil on Friday.
Lukaku’s praise comes at a time when Neymar has encountered fierce criticism for his alleged theatrics on the field. Neymar recovered from a three-month long injury to play in the World Cup for his country and like always the whole nation pinned their hopes on the star forward to carry the team to ultimate glory in Russia.
So far Neymar has not failed as he put in some good performances in the World Cup. Take away the shock 1-1 draw against Switzerland in Brazil’s World Cup 2018 opener—a match where the star forward was fouled for a record 10 times, Neymar’s overall performances in other matches of the tournament deserves praise.
Neymar helped Brazil reach the Quarter Final of the football extravaganza by scoring two goals and setting up one so far in the tournament.
While Neymar’s performances have been overlooked by many, only a handful of people have rallied by the side of the 26-year old forward. Belgium’s Lukaku being the latest one in that list as he brushed off Neymar’s ‘actor’ tag and praised him for his ability and skills.
According to a report from Goal.com, when asked whether he sees Neymar as “skilful or an actor”, Lukaku told reporters: “Skilful. To me he’s not an actor.
“Players who play against him are tougher because he has quality that is out of the ordinary.
“I think Neymar in the future will be the best in the world and I'm happy to be playing against him for the second time.” Lukaku said.
Lukaku’s coach Roberto Martinez highlighted Neymar’s ability in one-on-one situations as something his team will have to pay close attention to, but he feels Belgium also have plenty of “individual talent” to cause significant problems. The Belgium coach reiterated that there is a lot of respect for Brazil in the Belgium camp.
“We respect immensely Brazil and Tite, the work he has done,” Martinez said at the Kazan Arena.
“The games aren’t for coaches, they’re for players, you have to help the players be themselves on the pitch.
“We look forward to that. Individual talent is a big weapon of both teams, we rely on one-on-ones, being able to score, open-play football.
“We aren’t a team that relies on being defensively strong. You have to be perfect defensively but we rely on what we do on the ball, the same with Brazil.
“In that case Neymar is a big exponent of that, a technical footballer who’s decisive in one-on-ones.
“We have to be aware of that, keep him quiet and we can allow our players to have a bigger role in the game.
“A lot of respect, you‘ll only get respect for Brazil from Belgium for what Tite is achieving with his team.” Martinez concluded.