Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar drew criticism as the Champions League returned on Tuesday evening after he refused to shake the hand of teenage Celtic defender Anthony Ralston following his team’s 5-0 thrashing of the Scottish club in Glasgow.
Social media users were quick to jump on the €222m Brazilian, who became the most expensive player in history when he joined PSG from Barcelona last month.
He was criticised for a lack of respect and decency towards Ralston, who at 18 years of age was making debut in the Champions League proper, after PSG had comfortably won the game.
Neymar scored PSG’s opener on the night and was seen to goad Ralston by raising three fingers to him after Edinson Cavani had scored the French side’s third from the penalty spot.
When Neymar refused a handshake at the end, words were exchanged and the situation briefly threatened to boil over until other players calmly stepped in to defuse it.
The pair had been in each other’s ear all night, with Ralston guilty of a few heavy challenges on Neymar throughout the course of the game that clearly riled the Brazilian.
As such, he vented his frustration with the goading gesture at 3-0, and wasn’t simply prepared to let bygones be bygones when the referee called time on the physical contest.
And other social media users backed Neymar in his decision to refuse the handshake.
Speaking to BBC Sport after the final whistle, Ralston said, “I enjoyed coming up against him. I didn’t fear him at all.”
As for the contentious moments, he said, “It is just part and parcel of it. It is the mental side of the game, these things happen, it’s football, you move on. It wasn’t a big deal at all. Again I am learning. It was just talking back and forth, that was all it was.”