Brazil's Neymar, left, practices with teammates during a official training session on the eve of the quarterfinal match between Brazil and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Tsentralny stadium in Kazan, Russia, Thursday, July 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

2-time World Cup winner Ronaldo to refs: Protect Neymar

July 06, 2018 - 10:53 am

Two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo has a message to referees in Brazil: Protect Neymar.

Speaking to "PodcastOne Sports Now," Ronaldo told guest host Rob Harris that critics of Neymar's theatrics during games are "stupid and don't understand about football."

"The defenders are very strong with him and not legal," said Ronaldo, who won the 1994 and 2002 World Cup with Brazil.

Harris gets the verdict from another former World Cup winner, Lothar Matthaeus, on the early exit for holder Germany and his analysis of the quarterfinals in Russia.

The latest stop on Harris' tour of Russia for The Associated Press is at Joseph Stalin's formerly secret bunker in Samara.

AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum discusses the increasingly prominent role for female broadcasters at this World Cup.

FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani tells the podcast what a senior executive of soccer's governing body does at the World Cup and reflects on whether the United States team has been missed in Russia.


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