Time for Neymar to leave Brazil: Santos coach

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Rio de Janeiro, Oct 2 (IANS) Santos coach Muricy Ramalho has launched a withering verbal attack on Brazilian referees, saying they are driving Neymar out of Brazil.

The 20-year-old striker was shown the fourth red card of his career during Santos' 1-1 away draw with Gremio Sunday, reports Xinhua.

He was first cautioned for an altercation with defender Para before being shown the red card minutes later after an argument with referee Nielson Nogueira Dias.

Ramalho said the Brazil international striker has been "victimised" by referees and that the competition doesn't deserve a player of Neymar's ilk.

"Those close to him know that he is an humble guy who has time for everybody and doesn't mistreat a soul," Ramalho said of Neymar.

"He copped a pounding today - first a whack in the ankle and then a hit from (his opponent) Para who was his teammate at Santos. The referee wanted to be the centre of attention. It is happening too often.

"What good will be done by Neymar staying? If he comes to me and asks what he should do, I will tell him that he has to leave."

Neymar, who has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona next summer, said he was still unsure of the reason for his red card.

"The referee needs to have common sense too," Neymar told Globo Esporte. "I had not spoken with him all game. I just asked about the incident and he showed me a yellow."

Former Brazil internationals Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Dunga have urged Neymar to leave Santos to further develop his game in Europe.