Let it not be said that Mascherano has no sense of humour. The Argentine midfielder had a lot to say about how skillful players don’t get enough protection in South America.
The Barcelona forward was handed a four match ban following his red card in Brazil’s loss and verbal abuse of Referee Osses.
His club teammate has come to his rescue and says the Brazilian was on the receiving end of bad officiating. He even counted the amount of times he was kicked, twenty by his count.
“Things like this happen in South American football and even more so in the Copa America, where it’s difficult for players like him because you get more protection in Europe,” Mascherano told ESPN.
“Neymar was kicked 20 times, yet he was shown a yellow card for one handball. These type of talented players aren’t allowed to play. The tackles are getting worse in the tournament. It depends on what the referees and organisations want to do about it.
“We must do more to protect these players. He was kicked 20 times! This affects your head. Don’t forget that Neymar is Neymar, but he’s only a boy of 23 years. Brazil have lost a lot.”