Neymar: Ronaldo should be punished

The Ballon d’Or winner was sent off on Saturday for kicking out at Edimar Fraga and though his rival sympathises with his reaction, the Brazilian says he should be banned

Neymar: Ronaldo should be punished

Barcelona star Neymar says he understands Cristiano Ronaldo’s frustration boiling over after he was shown a red card during Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Cordoba.

The Portuguese seemed rattled throughout the contest, with video footage appearing to show him throwing a punch at Jose Angel Crespo, which went unnoticed by the referee.

But Ronaldo was later punished for kicking out at Edimar Fraga in another moment of indiscipline, which resulted in him being sent off.

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner later apologised on social media for losing his temper, but he has received the support of Neymar.

“It is difficult because sometimes there is provocation,” he said. “It happened to Zinedine Zidane, it happened to me. Nobody has the coolness to remain calm 100 per cent of the time.

“We must think with our heads. I think he should be punished.

“It is the referee’s responsibility to protect players on the pitch, particularly when they are targeted by hard challenges. Hard tackles must be punished.”

Neymar has been one of Barcelona’s shining lights amid a turbulent campaign at Camp Nou, with boardroom upheaval followed by reports of a dispute between Lionel Messi and coach Luis Enrique.

The Brazil captain has scored 19 goals in 25 games in all competitions and eased the goalscoring burden on the Argentine.

The 22-year-old was asked whether the presence of his South American team-mate could hinder his own bid to become the best player in the world, but he says Messi’s influence is only positive.

“I have no problem. I’ve shared a dressing room with Ronaldinho and I never had problems with him. I’ve played with many great players. Messi is the best player in the world and I’ll always have huge respect for him.”

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