Luis Figo defends Barcelona's Neymar against criticism of playing style

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid winger Luis Figo has defended Neymar against criticism for the way he expresses himself on the pitch.

There was already an open debate about whether Neymar's playing style was unnecessarily provocative before he was accused of inciting the anger among Valencia fans which led to a bottle being thrown at several Barca players on Oct. 22.

However, Figo, who has been seen as a villain in the Catalan city since leaving for Real Madrid in 2000, insists there is nothing wrong with the Brazilian's behaviour.

"That's Neymar's way of playing," Figo told Cadena Cope. "If it annoys anyone, that's their problem.

"He's trying to be the best [he can be], that's football and that's his style. Like I say, if that gets to some people, it's their problem."

Despite being encouraged to compare Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi with Real Madrid's frontline, Figo refused to give any headlines.

Instead, he praised the Barca trio, who have scored 31 goals this season despite an injury to Messi and Neymar's participation at the Olympic Games.

"They're three fantastic players," the former Portugal international added. "They're all impressive, some of the best players in the world.

"I enjoy their football, as I do with all good players. I won't compare them with the BBC [Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo], though."

Neymar and his Barcelona teammates will look to bounce back from their midweek defeat to Manchester City when they travel to Sevilla on Sunday.

Jorge Sampaoli's side are unbeaten at the Sanchez Pizjuan in La Liga this season, although the Blaugrana did win there in the Spanish Super Cup in August.

Neymar is looking forward to the game, which will see him reunited with an old friend.

"It's going to be really good game to play in, the kind of game all players want to be involved in," he said in an interview with Barca TV.

"And I'm playing against a former teammate in Ganso, a friend, not just on the pitch, but off it as well. I hope I come out of the game the winner.

"He's a great person, a quiet guy, relaxed. He's always making jokes, playing with his teammates. He's a great player with the quality to play wherever he wants. I wish him all the best, but not against Barca.

"The first trophy we won was together. We won the Campeonato Paulista, the Copa do Brasil, the Copa Libertadores and a lot of trophies... he's always in my heart."