Ronaldo Nazario defends Neymar

Neymar, 26, the current attacking talisman of the iconic Selecao side, has faced major critcism during Russia 2018 - despite being rated as one of the best players at the global showpiece.

The current world-record transfer holder has netted two goals and as many assists in four appearances thus far but his of the ball antics has come under the microscope.

However, two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo has defended his compatriot, claiming he's not received enough protection from officials.

"There are many ways to see football and interpret it," he said, as quoted by Sky Sports. "I am against all these opinions (on Neymar acting).

"He is an intelligent player in his movements and on how to defend himself from being tackled.

"I don't think referees have been protecting him enough. When people repeatedly hit me I would feel a sense of unfairness.

"Criticism is nonsense. TV shows and newspapers just want to fill the space."