Neymar unmasks the stupid side of soccer's rules on goal celebrations
Neymar, the 19-year-old sensation in the making, had just scored a goal for his Brazilian club team, Santos, during its 3-2 victory over Colo Colo of Chile in the Copa Libertadores, South America's annual club championship.
In celebration, Neymar picked up a paper mask of himself that had been dropped onto the field by a fan. He put the mask on and paraded in front of his home fans. The light moment brought both a smile and a good photo opportunity.
Not in the eyes of Uruguayan referee Roberto Silvera, however. Silvera gave him a yellow card for excessive celebration and that, coupled with an earlier yellow card for a foul, was enough to see the Brazilian player ejected.
The celebration was not violent and did not taunt Colo Colo. It was simply Neymar celebrating being Neymar. But soccer's rules, sadly, don't allow even that much leeway.
Neymar has scored three goals in three games for Brazil and is projected to be a starter on his country's 2014 World Cup team.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Neymar celebrates while wearing a mask depicting himself during a game against Colo Colo on Wednesday. Credit: Andre Penner / Associated Press