Neymar Banned Two Matches As League Opens Racism Probe

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar walks off the pitch after receiving a red card
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Neymar received a two-match ban Wednesday for his red card against Marseille as the French league announced it would open an investigation into accusations of racism by the Brazil forward against Alvaro Gonzalez.

Angel Di Maria will also be summoned to the league’s next disciplinary commission meeting on September 23 over claims he spat at Marseille defender Gonzalez during PSG’s 1-0 loss which ended with a mass brawl and five players sent off.

Neymar was sent off for slapping Gonzalez on the back of the head and accused the Spaniard of calling him a “monkey”. Gonzalez denies the allegation.

“We know there was an exchange of words. But right now, there isn’t enough certainty to call in the players,” said Sebastien Deneux, president of the disciplinary commission.

He said the investigation would study the footage further to determine whether there was enough evidence to substantiate the claims of racist abuse.

The goal will be to establish “what was actually said and what was actually heard”, Deneux added, while insisting the commission would only rule on “objective, tangible elements.”

The probe could also potentially interpret whether Neymar made homophobic remarks to Gonzalez, as reported by Spanish media.

PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa incurred a six-match ban for kicking out at Marseille left-back Jordan Amavi, who was hit with a suspension of three games after he too was dismissed.

Leandro Paredes was banned for two games after he was sent off for a clash with fellow Argentine Dario Benedetto, who was also red-carded and will be suspended for Marseille’s game with Saint-Etienne on Thursday.

Neymar watched Wednesday’s 1-0 win at home to Metz from the stands as PSG registered their first points of the season courtesy of a stoppage-time Julian Draxler goal, after successive opening defeats for the first time since 1984/85.

He will be free to return to face Reims on September 27 but will miss Sunday’s trip to Nice.

The suspension adds to a growing list served by Neymar since his arrival in Paris in 2017 as the world’s most expensive football.

He was banned for three games by UEFA — eventually reduced to two — following a foul-mouthed rant at officials following PSG’s Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester United in March 2019.

A couple months later he lashed out at a Rennes supporter following PSG’s defeat on penalties in the French Cup final, earning himself a three-match ban from the French FA.

Neymar was also sent off in a 2-2 draw against Marseille in October 2017 for two petulant yellow cards late in the game.

 

-AFP

Is This Neymar’s Time In The Champions League? Injury-Hit PSG Hope So

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar reacts during the French L1 football match against Lille at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on November 22, 2019.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Paris Saint-Germain have once again been hit by a flood of injuries going into a crunch Champions League knockout tie, but this time Neymar is fit and seemingly ready to live up to his status as the world’s most expensive player.

PSG face Atalanta in Lisbon on Wednesday in the first quarter-final of the ‘Final Eight’, after UEFA turned the latter stages of Europe’s elite club competition into something akin to a World Cup after the long coronavirus shutdown.

There will be no fans in the Estadio da Luz, but the French champions coped just fine behind closed doors when they beat Borussia Dortmund in their last 16, second leg in March.

That night Neymar scored the opener in a 2-0 win as they overturned a first-leg deficit.

After the game, the Brazilian sat on a step high up in the stands at the Parc des Princes and cried tears of joy.

After all, his first two seasons in Paris following his 222 million-euro ($264 million) transfer from Barcelona were marred by injuries at the worst possible moments.

First there was the broken metatarsal that saw him miss the last 16, second leg against Real Madrid in 2018 as PSG were knocked out by the reigning champions.

And history repeated itself a year later, as another metatarsal injury forced him to miss the defeat against a mediocre Manchester United, when they contrived to throw away a 2-0 first-leg advantage.

Since then, the much talked about move back to Barcelona has not happened and does not look likely to happen in the post-pandemic market.

Wednesday’s game comes a day short of three years after Neymar made his debut for PSG following that stunning, 222 million euros transfer from Spain.

 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (R) jokes with Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe during the friendly football match Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) vs Sochaux (FCSM) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on August 5, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Aged 28, Neymar now finally seems settled in Paris and is in fine shape to lead his team against Atalanta as they look to progress to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since the Qatari takeover in 2011.

“I think I’m having my best time since I came to Paris,” he said in an interview with the club’s website last week.

 

In this file photo taken on July 24, 2020 Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts after an injury during the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Saint-Etienne (ASSE), at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP
In this file photo taken on July 24, 2020 Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts after an injury during the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Saint-Etienne (ASSE), at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Mbappe a major doubt

And how PSG — in the week they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the club’s founding — need him as coach Thomas Tuchel has all sorts of selection concerns elsewhere.

His other superstar forward, Kylian Mbappe, is expected to be on the bench at best as he battles to shake off an ankle injury suffered in last month’s French Cup final against Saint-Etienne.

Angel Di Maria is suspended, while the club’s all-time record goal-scorer, Edinson Cavani, left at the end of June when his contract expired. Ironically, he has been tipped to move to Lisbon to sign for Benfica.

Perhaps most worryingly of all, midfield maestro Marco Verratti is out with a calf injury and reports claim the Italian would possibly not even be fit for the final should PSG make it.

To top it all, Tuchel is on crutches too, the German coach breaking his fifth metatarsal and spraining his left ankle during a workout.

 

(from L) Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos, Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Angel Di Maria, Paris Saint-Germain’s French defender Presnel Kimpembe, Paris Saint-Germain’s French defender Layvin Kurzawa and Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Mauro Icardi react during the friendly football match Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) vs Sochaux (FCSM) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on August 5, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

But as long as Neymar is fit, PSG will remain hopeful of progressing to a semi-final next week against Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig.

“We’re a very strong team together, we’ve won four titles already this season, and I’m very happy to be the Paris Saint-Germain manager,” Tuchel told PSG TV this week. “It’s a gift for me.”

 

 

 

-AFP

El Clasico: Suarez Completes Barcelona’s Attacking Options

El ClasicoWith Luis Suárez back from his ban, Barcelona Coach, Luis Enrique, can finally choose from a full pack of strikers for Saturday’s El Clasico against Real Madrid.

Leo Messi, Neymar Jr, Luis Suárez, Pedro Rodríguez, Sandro Ramírez and Munir El Haddadi are all available.

Not counting Suarez, the other five have bagged more than 80% of the team’s goals this season.

There’s plenty of focus on what Suarez’s role is going to be on Saturday, but the presence of Messi and Neymar upfront would also be giving the Madrid defence headaches – the two of them have managed more than 19 out of 28 of the team’s goals this season.

Sandro (3), Pedro (1) and Munir (1) have also scored, with the combined goals from the front men representing more than 80% of the total.

Messi and Pedro have plenty of experience against Real Madrid, whilst Neymar made his El Clasico debut last season with a goal at the Camp Nou.

For Luis Suárez, Sandro and Munir, Saturday would be their first appearance in the El Clasico.

Luis Enrique, confirmed that Suarez would indeed get some time on the pitch against Real Madrid in the match better known as “El Clasico.”

“(Suarez) will have some minutes for sure, how many I cannot say,” Enrique told his pregame news conference on Friday (via ESPN). “It is a big thing for him, to join up finally with the team, and get some minutes.”

Santos Star;Neymar Launches Comic Book

[highlight]Brazilian football star Neymar was on hand for the launch of his own comic book.[/highlight]

The 68-page comic ‘Neymar Jr.’ is scheduled to be released monthly.

The Santos star joins the ranks of Pelé and Ronaldinho in an elite group of soccer stars to have been drawn by Brazilian cartoonist Mauricio de Sousa.

The strip follows in the tradition of comics such as Roy of the rovers, a British comic about the life of a fictional footballer named Roy Race.

Speculation is rife over whether a heavily-pocketed European club could lure the highest paid Brazilian player away from his native country continue ahead of the 2014 world cup.