Ramalho: Refs driving Neymar out of Brazil
Santos manager Muricy Ramalho has claimed Neymar is being victimised by referees and suggested it is time for the Brazil star to leave his homeland in the wake of a controversial red card.
Neymar, 20, was given his marching orders in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Gremio on Sunday for a perceived stamp on former team-mate Para, a decision that came after the Santos forward had earlier received a contentious yellow card for complaining to the referee about a foul.
Both decisions were met with widespread criticism, with Ramalho's fury at the official spilling over into a post-match interview, during which he asserted that his star player must leave Brazil in order to prevent him from being ill-treated by referees any longer.
"I think he [the referee] got carried away by the occasion," Ramalho said. "For the first, he said Neymar complained, but for the second?
"Neymar has been kicked about all game and they did nothing. He fell on him [Para] but he did nothing. They said he was diving, but he did nothing and just continued to take the punches. The referee over-reacted and it hurt us.
"It's annoying that this type of officialdom should occur to Neymar. He has to leave the country, no doubt."
The player himself was also unhappy about the refereeing performance, believing that an advantage should have been played for the foul that eventually led to his yellow.
"He needs to have common sense too," Neymar told Globo Esporte. "I had not spoken with him [the referee] all game, I just spoke about this incident and he showed me a yellow.
"I said that they were knocking me and I was still on my feet, I could have taken advantage, that he could punish it later. He showed me a yellow and even signalled for me to shut up."
It is not the first-time that Neymar, who has long been linked with a move from Brazil to Europe, has been on the wrong end of over-zealous officialdom, having previously been dismissed for wearing a mask that was thrown from the crowd as part of a goal celebration.