Fifa World Cup: ‘Neymar Challenge’ hits new heights as Mexican club introduce contest
Mockery continues for the Brazil forward days after his team are eliminated from the competition in Russia
After mocking vanquished rivals Mexico following their World Cup last-16 win, Brazil’s Neymar is now reaping what he sowed.
First Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado wasted no time in hitting back at the divisive forward after their loss to Belgium last Friday, taunting “and now who’s going home” following the defeat.
And now Liga MX outfit Club Tijuana has stuck the boot in ever further by introducing a competition based on the viral Twitter hashtag “Neymar Challenge” during the half-time break of their matches.
The contest involves participants racing from the half-way line to the goal by rolling in the same manner the Brazilian mastered during the competition in Russia.
After Brazil’s win over the Mexicans in the round of 16, Neymar didn’t have the most sporting reaction. “They talked too much before the game, and now they’re going home,” he said.
Neymar has been much criticised for some of his on-field behaviour at the Fifa showpiece, but little of the criticism was more scathing than that of Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio, who remarked: “We had control of the match, but to me it is just shameful that so much time could be lost over one player.”
The 26-year-old was easily the most fouled player at the tournament, which Brazil exited at the quarter-final stage when they were beaten 2-1 by Belgium. But a Swiss study found that Neymar spent a total of 14 minutes on the floor during the tournament, with almost five and a half minutes occurring during the game against Mexico alone.
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) July 5, 2018
The forward was defended by some of his countrymen, however. Former Barcelona midfielder Rivaldo, who was no stranger to theatrics during a successful playing career, wrote in support of his compatriot encouraging him to fall in order “to buy time” whenever he felt the need.
Two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima demanded the Paris Saint-Germain player be afforded more protection from referees.
Whether the histrionics were justified or not, they inevitably became the subject of great mirth for Twitter users. Here are some of the highlights of the #NeymerChallenge.
Children have been attempting to master one of the darker arts of the game.
WEEK 1 DAY 5 | We’ve had a fabulous week to kick off our Summer Camp. We decided to end it with the #NeymarChallenge. I think some of the children are definitely going to the World Cup with their impressions! ⚪️⚽️ #WeAreKillie pic.twitter.com/wP2h9i6LXj
— Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust (@KillieCommunity) July 6, 2018
— Paulie!! (@rockyVSN) July 7, 2018
— TWill (@TWill876) July 7, 2018
Then animals got in on the act.
— Efren J (@_epinEfren) July 3, 2018
— Azmat Raza Khan (@azmatrkhan) July 4, 2018
And a shark.