soccer

Recalling the infamous dive that was memed to oblivion

Brazil facing Serbia recalled to mind one of Neymar’s most infamous moments – his never-ending rolling that was giffed, shared and scrutinized to death during the 2018 World Cup.

Neymar is one of the most famous footballers on the planet. He’s loved by many, but there was one moment during the 2018 World Cup that his status as one of the sport’s most divisive figures.

Serbia fans certainly don’t forget – the PSG superstar was booed during Brazil’s 2-0 victory at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. When he went over to their pocket of fans to take a corner, he signaled to his ear, giving some back, as if to say ‘I can’t hear you’.

Just like in Qatar, Brazil scored a 2-0 win over Serbia, with Paulinho and Thiago Silva getting on the scoresheet on that occasion at the Otkritie Arena in Moscow.

But while few remember that goals or that win, everyone remembers the way Neymar rolled for an eternity after getting fouled by Adem Ljajic. The Brazilian already had a reputation for being somewhat theatrical, but this was a moment that well and truly rubberstamped it.

He’s one of the best five players in the world – why do you need this acting? For what?” said Germany legend Lothar Matthaus, one of only five players to have played at five World Cups.

That was the pertinent question. Such is his flair, there’s little question that Neymar is one of the most talented and entertaining footballers of his generation. Few can match his own personal highlight reel when it comes to tricks and flicks.

“Do you think I want to suffer tackles all of the time? No, it is painful, it hurts,’ Neymar replied.

“After the games I stay back for four or five hours putting on ice, it’s complicated but if you haven’t experienced that you will never understand. I saw [the jokes]but I took them with a humour.

Even yesterday I posted on Instagram a joke with the children about it. My football is to dribble, to face the opponent, I can’t stand in front of the opponent and say ‘my dear, excuse me I want to score a goal’, I can’t do that.

“I have to dribble his past, I have to try to do something and he will not allow me to go past and he will try to foul me. A lot of time I’m faster and lighter than other players and they tackle me, and the referee is there for that.”

It’s a fair point. And it’s long been forgotten that it was actually a foul by Llajic. But those details have been washed away, while the image of Neymar rolling remains one of the iconic images of the 2018 World Cup and Neymar’s career. The clip has been shared thousands of times, while the memes and edits it spawned will live on.


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