Rio de Janeiro: Brazil captain Neymar insists he did not do anything to the referee to deserve a four-game ban after his side's 0-1 Copa America loss to Colombia.
Neymar just before the start of the Copa America match between Brazil and Venezuela, which he missed due to suspension on Sunday. Pic/AFP
The 23-year-old left the country after his tournament was ended with a suspension for attempting to headbutt Jeison Murillo and allegedly insulting referee Enrique Osses after the final whistle.
But Neymar has continued to protest his innocence over the incident, even as he revealed the choice for him to leave the Brazil camp had been a joint one. "It was a family decision to leave," the forward told Jornal Nacional.
"I talked to my father, and then I told Dunga and team manager Gilmar Rinaldi. They agreed. "Nothing happened in the tunnel, basically. I was inside it, and waiting to ask the ref why he dismissed me. Then a huddle took place and security guards came in, thinking that I wanted to attack him. That's how it came to this."
Nevertheless, Neymar remains confident his compatriots have the quality and experience needed to lift the Copa America. "I think there's a lot of life in Selecao without Neymar. The players have shown that they can win games and win Copa America," he added.