Ghana’s Mohammed Kudus has hit back at “fake news” after he was quoted as saying he is just as good as Brazil’s Neymar.
Speaking to the Guardian about Neymar, Kudus said: “He’s not better than me. He’s just a higher profile player, that’s all.”
Kudus and Neymar clashed in September when Brazil beat Ghana in a friendly.
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Neymar was shown a late yellow card for a challenge on Kudus.
“He was defending his country and I was defending mine,” said Kudus. “I wasn’t about to let him push me around.
"What makes him better, for now, is that he has achieved a lot. I’ll get there soon.”
Kudus has said on social media that the interview with the Guardian is "fake news".
Writing on Twitter, he said: “My Family & Culture raised me to respect the elderly.
“@neymarjr like @Thiago6 & many legends inspired us to dream. Just like @neymarjr I humbly want to inspire the next generation like they did.
“@guardian_sport whats the agenda ? Al focus on tomorrow. FAKE NEWS!!!!!!”
Ghana play Portugal in their World Cup opener on Thursday. They could potentially face Brazil in the last 16.
Kudus has been in impressive form for Ajax this season, scoring four goals in six Champions League games and also netting five times in the league.
He says he was close to leaving in the summer and was interested in an approach from Everton.
“I thought [Everton] was a good project for me and why not?” he said.
“It’s not like it’s my first season at Ajax, it’s my third. So, if I’m not seeing the progress I’m looking for then why not try something else?
“For me, it was a simple matter. The only way you can develop is by getting minutes on the pitch. If I’m at a stage and I feel I’m not developing at that very moment then I have to try somewhere else.”
Kudus has played at times as a false nine for Ajax but could be more central for Ghana.
Reflecting on his role with the national team, he said: “When I play centrally, a lot of balls go through me and my job is to make sure we transition well.
“The intention is to create chances and help the team and as creative players you are allowed to lose balls and help the team.
“I don’t see any player in the [national] team who plays the way I do, because we have different types of players.
“If I’m the one who has [to] try those tricks to create something and I lose the ball 10 times, but if that one time it is a goal, then so be it. My coach has never told me he doesn’t like my style of play or that I’m holding on to the ball too much. It always looks bad until it goes well, then you’re a genius.”
To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, we have launched our new bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues.
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