Barcelona star Neymar has called for "respect" after he was criticised by Atletico Madrid's players and local media for "provocative" behaviour during Wednesday night's Copa del Rey quarterfinal second leg at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Neymar was the focus of much of the attention during the game, scoring twice as his team won 3-2 to progress 4-2 on aggregate to the semifinals, while also being involved in a half-time scuffle with a number of opponents including the Fernando Torres.
Afterwards, Atletico captain Gabi, who was sent off after approaching referee Jesus Gil Manzano in the tunnel at half-time, complained about Neymar's "peculiar" behaviour, apparently in reference to the Brazilian performing nutmegs and making comments on the pitch.
Atletico's new signing Cani, meanwhile, told reporters that Neymar would always have issues with opponents if he continued to play in this style.
"[Neymar] is going to have problems throughout his career," the former Villarreal midfielder said. "He has a style of play -- he nutmegs people, he talks. On other days he will have the problems he had today, but if he likes to be like that..."
The Madrid media took up that narrative on Thursday morning, too, with Marca saying his goal celebrations had been provocative, but Catalan daily Sport replied on Friday morning with a cover that read: "They are coming for Neymar: he is a victim, not the provoker."
- Diario SPORT (@sport) January 30, 2015
Neymar, who had earlier been backed by coach Luis Enrique, also defended himself on social media, posting on Instagram with the message: "Nobody is obliged to like anybody, but there is a thing called respect."
The Brazil international was not involved in the game's most controversial incident, when Atletico midfielder Arda Turan threw his boot in the direction of a linesman in apparent frustration at a decision not going his way. Referee Gil Manzano issued only a booking to the Turkey international, and it appears no further punishment is likely given the official match report described it as no more than a gesture of general frustration.
Turan appeared to see the funny side of the incident when celebrating his 28th birthday on Thursday night. The player's brother Okan posted an image of the party to his Instagram account, showing Arda being presented with a birthday cake decorated with a football boot.
Meanwhile, Atletico full-back Cristian Ansaldi has been released after being arrested after an altercation with a policeman before the Barcelona game, EFE reported.
AS reported that Ansaldi, who is currently injured, was unable to show any identification when his car was stopped at a barrier outside the ground. He is then said to have left his car and attempted to move the barrier himself, which eventually resulted in a policeman who attempted to stop him seeing his hand caught in the player's car door.