Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has claimed that footballers 'cannot do anything' because of the high level of scrutiny around the game.
According to ESPN, Neymar was making reference to a gesture he made towards Rennes player Hamari Traore - offering a hand to help him up after fouling him, and then withdrawing his hand and walking away.
The controversial incident happened during PSG's 3-2 victory over Rennes in the Coupe de la Ligue semifinal.
"Football is a little boring right now," Neymar said. "We cannot do anything -- everything is controversial.
"For example, I made a joke at the end by offering my hand [to Hamari Traore] and then pulled it away. It will cause controversy, but it is the kind of thing that I do with my friends all the time. Why not with opponents? It was just a joke.
"They were stopping me by fouling me and I was playing football. They provoked me but I also know how to provoke, in my own way, with the ball and with my football style. I am not here to kick out -- I do not know how to do that.
"I defend myself with the ball. It will not help if defenders provoke me because I will provoke them even more. I know people will speak about the incident but they should put themselves in my shoes -- I am going to make my team win."
Rennes were unhappy with Neymar's conduct, and made their thoughts clear on social media.
"You are a great player but who had to go off injured following a major foul?" Rennes asked Neymar via Twitter. "A Rennes player, Ismaila Sarr, who has already missed three months of action because of another nasty gesture..."