Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has hit out at Barcelona regarding claims about Neymar’s recent weight loss.
• Tomas: Neymar, Cesc step up
Neymar, 21, has reportedly lost 7 kg after suffering from anaemia after a recent double tonsil operation, and the €57 million summer signing has been put on a special diet by Barcelona’s medical staff to help bulk-up his slimline figure.
Now his national coach has hit out at such concerns, after sensing an anti-Brazil tone to some of the comments being made in Europe.
"It is unacceptable to say that Neymar has anaemia,” Scolari said in Mundo Deportivo. “He was in Barcelona before the Confederations Cup and he was perfect. It is clear that he is not himself [at present], but he had surgery. Neymar is not anaemic; Brazil is not a third-world country. We are not behind anyone when it comes to medical matters.”
Scolari stressed it was not unusual for someone to lose weight after an operation and Neymar would be back to normal soon.
"It seems that they [Barcelona] are the ones who know everything, who are always right,” Scolari said. “It is clear that Neymar was going to lose some weight after the surgery. He looks phenomenal to me -- he eats at 12pm, at 3pm, at 6pm, at 9pm... He is eating well. He has played well for Barca in pre-season. He looks in phenomenal shape to me.”
Scolari was speaking ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park in Basel, where Neymar is expected to feature for Brazil.
Anaemia is a lower than normal count of red blood cells that provokes tiredness or weakness. Barca sources had claimed their new signing was suffering from the complaint on his return from his summer break in Brazil. The attacker nonetheless played a full part in the club’s four-country pre-season tour around Asia, scoring in games against both the Thailand national side and a Malaysian XI.
Former Santos coach Muricy Ramalho has also suggested that Barcelona’s plan to bulk-up his former charge could lead to the player suffering serious knee injury problems down the line.