Neymar has been banned for the next four matches because of kicking a ball at a rival, getting sent off, then repeatedly insulting the referee while on international duty with Brazil during the Copa America tournament.
While I would always try to defend the actions of Barcelona players, trying to excuse such deplorable behaviour seems pretty much impossible on this occasion as, let's face it, the 23-year-old should definitely know better by now. Can anyone here imagine Lionel Messi reacting in such a reprehensible manner? No. Exactly my point.
Messi explained when questioned about the incident: "I would have liked Neymar to be in the Copa America final, he is my friend. I'm not going to comment on whether the four match ban is fair or not, but the final would have been better with a player of his calibre in it."
In other words, not even best buddy Messi is capable of understanding such an exaggerated reaction from his Brazilian teammate. However, I strongly believe Neymar should not be the only player walking away from the match against Colombia with an exemplary ban.
Juan Zuniga, who famously kneed Neymar's back in the World Cup last summer in what could have easily turned into a career-threatening injury, was back to his old tricks and kept pestering the Brazilian No.10 with a string of tackles, pushes and shoves which he should be ashamed of -- as should the referee, who managed to repeatedly ignore the Colombians' constant violent fouls on the Barcelona forward.
Personally, I really don't want to football to turn into a sport where creative players trying to attempt out-of-the-ordinary dribbles are faced with nasty tackles which go unpunished, or where the most spectacular players become increasingly reluctant to show their talents in fear of disproportionate retaliation.
If Neymar has been punished a four month ban, Zuniga's regrettable behaviour should also be given a serious consequence as, clearly, he is a threat to other player's well-being.