Brazil striker Neymar suspended for misbehavior
Brazil striker Neymar was suspended for at least one match by Santos on Saturday for cursing at his teammates and his coach in a Brazilian league match.
Santos had already fined Neymar an undisclosed amount and the 18-year-old player issued an apology for his outburst after not being allowed to take a penalty kick in a match last Wednesday.
But coach Dorival Junior said the fine was not enough and reportedly threatened to quit if Santos didn't give Neymar a harsher punishment.
Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro said in a statement that Neymar will not play against Guarani on Sunday in Campinas and that the club would consider later when he can return to the team.
''At first, the club's management felt that the (fine) handed to Neymar was enough to put an end to the issue,'' Ribeiro said in the statement. ''After another request by the coach, I decided that a conciliatory solution was needed. For now, Neymar is out of the match against Guarani. On Monday, the situation will be reevaluated by the club's management and the coach.''
Neymar last month rejected a ?35 million ($46 million) offer to play for Chelsea and had his contract with Santos extended until 2015.
He is one of the most talked about players in Brazilian football in recent years and last month made a scoring debut in the senior national team's 2-0 win against the United States in a friendly in New Jersey.
Many fans wanted to see Neymar in Brazil's World Cup squad in South Africa, but his recent problems on and off the field have made him lose some support even from fans in Santos, where he has been touted as one of the team's next top players since he was 13. Many compare him to Robinho and some even to Pele, the team's greatest star.
Ribeiro said the club continues to support Neymar, but reiterated that it will not tolerate acts of indiscipline.
''We believe this episode will help him mature and overcome this moment of difficulty,'' the president said.
Neymar, who will spend the weekend training in Santos, on Thursday apologized for his behavior in the match against Atletico Goianiense and said it will never happen again.
The speedy striker was upset after he was kept from taking the penalty kick late in Santos' 4-2 victory at Vila Belmiro Stadium. He went to the sideline to complain to coach Junior and later continued to argue with some of his teammates.
In a 2-1 loss to Ceara last Sunday, Neymar stepped on the foot of a defender as the match was ending, starting an altercation between players from both teams. Players from Avai recently accused Neymar of provoking them by saying he was a millionaire and could do whatever he wanted, and earlier this year he escaped punishment from a sports tribunal after he allegedly accused a referee of being a thief in a post on Twitter.
Neymar denied the accusations against the referee and the Avai players. He said the Twitter account was hacked.