Brazil defender Dani Alves has taken former England international Alan Shearer to task for the BBC pundit’s comments towards teammate Fred.
Speaking to ESPN, Shearer said he thought the striker was ‘dragging down’ the Brazil lineup and that he did not understand how manager Luiz Felipe Scolari could continue to pick him.
Alves however reacted angrily when told of the remarks, claiming the former Newcastle United star was not only disrespecting his colleague but also the game of football.
‘These are some of the most idiotic comments that we’ve heard, especially considering the fact they are coming from someone who played the game, who knows football and understands how difficult it is,’ he stated.
‘[He knows] the difficulties of competing, playing in tournaments and scoring goals, and then he says this? It’s a shame for football because I think it’s disrespectful towards a colleague. This kind of person doesn’t add anything to football. On the contrary, they only degrade colleagues.’
Shearer’s comments came after Fred was roundly criticised for his performances in Brazil’s opening two World Cup games, flattering to deceive in both the 3-1 win over Croatia and the 0-0 draw with Mexico, respectively.
Already a divisive figure before this summer, Scolari’s affection for having the target man as the reference point of the attack has been well-documented in the past, but the side’s underwhelming displays thus far have led many to call for the Fluminese centre-forward to be dropped from the starting XI and the system changed going forward.
A veteran of the 2006 World Cup, Fred spent four seasons in Europe with French club Lyon from 2005 to 2009, before injury and poor performance ultimately forced his return to Brazil.
Returning to the national team setup in recent years after re-finding his scoring touch back home, the 30-year-old was one of the heroes of the Selecao’s 2013 Confederations Cup triumph, with five goals in as many games sealing his place as a regular under 2002 World Cup-winning coach Scolari.
With only one goal since, however, Fred’s otherwise commendable international record of 17 in 36 appearances may not be enough to save his place in the team should he continue to falter in front of goal, no matter how loyal his manager.
Brazil are hampered by a lack of out-and-out strikers to choose from in the squad, with former Manchester City man Jo the lone replacement, but if the team fail to impress again in their final group game against Cameroon on Monday then Scolari could come under even more intense pressure to switch things up with his side.