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World Cup: Diving Neymar rolls out of social media and into Mexican league football

Brazilian superstar Neymar da Silva Santos Junior was never far from the headlines in Russia, and despite having exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage, fans around the world are ensuring that his questionable legacy will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Neymar was expected to be one of the shining lights at this World Cup, but ended up making more headlines for his play-acting antics than his football.

The Paris St Germain star repeatedly made a meal out of minimal contact, threatening to tarnish his legacy as one of the premier strikers in world football.

However Mexican Liga MX side Club Tijuana have seen the funny side, using his amateur dramatics as a basis for a novel form of half-time entertainment.

At half-time in a pre-season friendly against Costa Rican side Herediano on the weekend, fans were invited onto the field to roll as far as possible as an act of homage to the Brazilian superstar.

World Cups are fertile ground for copycat tributes, but fans haven’t embraced a player for diving since Jurgen Klinsmann, who parodied his reputation as a diver from the 1990 World Cup when he signed for Tottenham in 1994.

Most supporters have condemned Neymar for his antics, saying his displays are a blight on the game.

But that hasn’t stopped coaches instructing their young players in the dark arts.

Of all Neymar’s dives, none was more ‘impressive’ than his extravagant rolling against Serbia in the group stages.

Plenty of pundits wondered just how far Neymar would roll given the opportunity, perhaps giving rise to the idea for Club Tijuana’s half-time game and numerous memes.

It is not just internet memes and half-time activities that Neymar’s rolling has inspired though. Fast food adverts are even getting in on the act.

Former Manchester United striker and some-time actor Eric Cantona offered up some of his acting advice.

However, as much fun as Neymar has provided — perhaps inadvertently — this World Cup, it all came to a crashing halt in the quarter-finals, meaning Neymar and his team were on the next plane home.


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