Rafinha claims Barcelona star Neymar is a victim of media campaigns
Brazilian midfielder Rafinha has hit out at the media after the press had averred that his Barcelona and Brazilian teammate Neymar was responsible for the ugly scenes at the Mestalla stadium last week. The crowd threw a bottle at Neymar while he was celebrating Lionel Messi’s goal.
Spanish newspaper, Mundo Deportivo, recently interviewed Rafinha and the 23-year-old defended his compatriot.
“Neymar is the victim of a media campaign,” said Rafinha. “There are people that look for these sort of thing, to create something that really isn't there.”
“But this is football. Neymar has a quality out of the ordinary and when demonstrated on the pitch, for me it isn't provocation. It's an art. They have twisted the story.”
“A bottle was thrown and hit Neymar, and they've changed the story from what it is, which is an act of violence from someone in the Mestalla. Now they blame Neymar, which really surprises me.”
Neymar has been accused of showboating in the past and has drawn a fair share of criticism for his behaviour on the pitch.
La Liga President, Javier Tebas was of the opinion that the Barcelona players provoked the Valencia players and Tebas’ comments about the incident have infuriated the Catalans. Barcelona released an official statement on Thursday saying that they have withdrawn their backing for Tebas.
"The declarations made by Tebas are irresponsible and unbecoming of a sports executive," claimed Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The club also requested the Administrative Court of Sport, TAS, to take disciplinary actions against Javier Tebas and the Royal Spanish Football Federation. The RFEF did impose a €1,500 fine on Valencia after the incident but also criticized the behaviour of the Barcelona players.
It is such a shame that an incident of this sort happened in such an intriguing game. The Catalan giants suffered an early setback as Andres Iniesta was taken off after 10 minutes as the midfielder suffered a knee ligament injury which will have him sidelined for at least 2 months. The reigning La Liga champions recovered from the shock of losing their skipper as Lionel Messi fired them into the lead.
Valencia came back strong in the second half and goals from Munir and Rodrigo meant that the hosts had a 2-1 lead. Luis Suarez scored in the 62nd minute to level the proceedings and Barcelona were awarded a late penalty after Luis Suarez was fouled inside the box. Messi converted the spot kick which secured all three points for his side and Valencia were left complaining about the refereeing.
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