at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Rio de Janeiro - Barcelona's signing of Brazil star Neymar has destabilized the dressing room, according to former Barca coach Johan Cruyff.
“Everything is against him, both as a person and as a player,” said three time World Player of the Year Cruyff, who led the Catalan club to their first European Cup 22 years ago.
When Neymar joined Barca last year, Cruyff criticized the move as there would be “two skippers on one boat,” in allusion to Argentine superstar Lionel Messi.
“People mustn't forget he is a lad of 22 - a lad of 22 is not yet an adult. Nobody who is is 21 or 22 years old can be seen as a god,” added Cruyff.
“If you are 22 and you are earning twice as much as the goalkeeper (Victor Valdes), who has won everything with Barca then what kind of atmosphere can that engender in the dressing room?”
Brazilian media quoted Cruyff as being trenchant in his criticism during an interview on the sidelines of the Laureus Awards in Kuala Lumpur.
He added: “It is a mistake on the part of the Barcelona
management. They went ahead and now the lad is paying” with Spanish media criticizing his performances.
“It is sad. I think the club and the player's agent should have prevented that. It shouldn't have happened.
“Neymar is a great player who can lose his way,” Cruyff warned.
Neymar is believed to be the third-best paid player at Barcelona after Messi and Andres Iniesta.
But he has been in the headlines not so much for his play but for a row over the transfer which brought the resignation of chairman Sandro Rosell last month.
Rosell stepped down after a club member demanded an investigation into the finances of the Neymar move.
On the pitch, Neymar found himself the subject of media criticism after he was accused of diving to obtain a penalty in Sunday's 4-3 Clasico triumph over Real Madrid.