Neymar hits back at Lugano

Belo Horizonte, June 27 (IANS) Neymar has hit back at claims of Uruguay captain Diego Lugano that he is “talented at winning free-kicks”.

Speaking after Brazil’s 2-1 victory over Uruguay in Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semi-final at the Mineirao Stadium, Neymar moved to avoid a verbal confrontation with the centre-back, reports Xinhua.

“He has the right to say what he wants, it won’t affect me. I don’t pay any attention to it. What is important is that I help my team to win,” the 21-year-old Barcelona striker said.

After the match, Lugano stood by the accusations he made Tuesday. When asked about a statement from Brazil’s football confederation (CBF) condemning Lugano’s comments, the Paris Saint-Germain defender expressed bemusement.

“Do you think I care about what the CBF or the media say? It doesn’t interest me. I say what I think without worrying about the reaction of others.”

Neymar failed to score for the first time in the tournament Wednesday but played a role in both of Brazil’s goals. Fred’s opener came after a Neymar shot was blocked by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera while he provided the assist for Paulinho’s late winner with a precise corner-kick.

Neymar said Brazil’s squad would keep a keen eye Thursday’s other semi-final between Spain and Italy in Fortaleza. But he declined to nominate a preferred rival for Sunday’s final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

“You can’t choose who you play against. They are both difficult sides. We are going to be watching the match on a screen and try to be as prepared as possible,” Neymar said.

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