NEYMAR’S diving antics are hard to defend and he should focus on his match-winning ability, claims Pele.
The Brazilian star’s reputation took a battering over the summer for a poor showing and theatrics at the World Cup in Russia.
Getty – Contributor6 Pele claims he cannot defend Neymar's diving antics
Getty – Contributor6 Neymar's reputation took a nosedive after his theatrics at Russia World Cup
And Pele revealed he has spoken to the Paris Saint-Germain attacker and told him to clean up his act.
The three-time World Cup winner told Folha de Sao Paulo: “It's difficult to defend Neymar for all the things he does besides playing football. I spoke with him and reminded him of his ability.
"He was unlucky because Brazil did not win the World Cup and he was singled out.
"I've been with him in Europe twice.
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Reuters6 Pele reveals he has spoken to Neymar about his behaviour
Reuters6 Neymar dives to try and win a penalty as Brazil are losing to Belgium in World Cup quarter-final
“We talked and I explained 'The God of football gave you the gift. What you do complicates it.'"
Pele believes Neymar is a better player than his fellow PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, who won the Best Young Player award as France become World champions again in Russia.
The French sensation joined the Brazilian legend as the only teenagers to score in a World Cup final.
Pele added: “People compare me with Mbappe and there are similarities, right? But he is already 19. He won the World Cup.
Reuters6 But Pele insists Neymar is better than his PSG pal Kylian Mbappe
AFP or licensors6 Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958
"I think Neymar is a more complete player than him, but in Europe, everyone speaks more about Mbappe."
After pulling out of a scheduled appearance in the UK, there were conflicting reports about Pele’s health.
However, the football icon says he is feeling better but is not back to full strength.
He continued: "Thanks to God, I am well. I had three surgeries in the past years, but I'm not 100 per cent. I don't feel any more pain, I feel more weakness."