PSG Star Neymar Ruled Out For Six-Eight Weeks

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar is evacuated on a stretcher after an injury during the French L1 football match between AS Saint-Etienne and Paris Saint Fermain (PSG), at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, central France, on November 28, 2021.
Jeff PACHOUD / AFP

 

Neymar is expected to be sidelined for between six and eight weeks after sustaining ligament damage to his left ankle, Paris Saint-Germain said on Monday.

The Brazil star was stretchered from the pitch in tears after suffering the injury in the final minutes of Sunday’s 3-1 victory at Saint-Etienne.

“The examinations carried out last night confirm that Neymar Jr suffered from a sprained left ankle with ligament damage,” PSG said in a statement, adding that a further update would be made in 72 hours.

AFP

Messi Sets Up PSG Comeback Win Marred By Neymar Injury

Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts as the snow falls during the French L1 football match between AS Saint-Etienne and Paris Saint Fermain (PSG), at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, central France, on November 28, 2021. (Photo by Jeff PACHOUD / AFP)

 

Paris Saint-Germain overturned an early deficit to beat 10-man Saint-Etienne 3-1 away in Ligue 1 on Sunday, with Lionel Messi setting up all three goals.

The match also featured the long-awaited PSG debut of Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, while Neymar left the pitch sobbing in agony, stretchered off with an ankle injury.

Still in November, the result leaves PSG on 40 points, 14 clear of second-placed Nice, who lost 1-0 at home to struggling Metz on Saturday.

Saint-Etienne took a surprise lead when Denis Bouanga beat the offside trap to fire a shot past Gianluigi Donnarumma on 23 minutes, a flag went up but a VAR review awarded the goal.

The hosts, languishing in the bottom two but on the back of two straight league wins, held their own against PSG, who appeared more affected by the freezing cold and gusting snow.

All that changed with a red card.

There was no VAR to save the hosts on the stroke of half-time when back-tracking defender Timothee Kolodziejczak was sent off for a flailing challenge on Kylian Mbappe.

PSG then levelled when Marquinhos scored with a towering header as Messi floated in the subsequent free-kick, sending in the sides level, but with the hosts hanging their heads.

“At best that was too harsh,” said Saint-Etienne coach Claude Puel. “It changed the match, we were leading and doing well.”

The second half was one-way traffic with further goals coming from Angel Di Maria on 79 and centre-back Marquinhos with his second in time added on — Messi again providing inch-perfect passes.

But there was bad news for PSG late on as Neymar fell in full flight after treading on a defender’s leg and twisting his ankle in a way that made his teammates wince.

“That’s life,” Neymar said on Instagram. “I’ll be back better and stronger.”

The result sees Saint-Etienne slip to the foot of the table, behind Metz on goal difference.

Messi Taken Off At Half-Time As PSG Narrowly Beat Lille

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) and Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar react during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and LOSC Lille at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on October 29, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar react during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and LOSC Lille at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on October 29, 2021.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Neymar set up Angel Di Maria to score an 88th-minute winner as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind once again, this time to beat reigning French champions Lille 2-1 on Friday.

With Kylian Mbappe missing and Lionel Messi taken off at half-time, PSG needed captain Marquinhos to equalise in the 74th minute after Jonathan David had given the away side a first-half lead at the Parc des Princes.

Di Maria had set up the equaliser and he then arrived to fire low into the net from Neymar’s lay-off and secure a win that allows PSG to extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to a massive 10 points over second-placed Lens before the rest of the weekend’s games.

Nevertheless this was another in a long line of disjointed displays from Mauricio Pochettino’s team and the coach was again left with questions to answer.

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It was the third time in four home league games that PSG have come from behind to score a late winning goal, and here it came against a Lille side who are in mid-table after a poor start to their title defence.

The absence of top-scorer Mbappe due to illness did not help, nor did that of injured playmaker Marco Verratti.

“It is not by chance that the team responded the way they did. It shows the mentality and the character that they have,” Pochettino insisted.

“We want to win in the best possible manner, and by the biggest margin. The truth is that it’s often a struggle but it’s not by chance that we have won 10 league games out of 12.”

Messi’s goal drought

Messi was taken off at the interval and is still without a goal after five appearances in Ligue 1. That record is surely not what anyone expected from him when he arrived in August.

Perhaps he eventually will start scoring for fun in France, but he will go into November still looking to break his duck.

To be fair Messi has been making an impact in the Champions League, with three goals in three appearances in Europe.

His premature substitution here was a precautionary measure ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with RB Leipzig in Germany -– the Argentinian had been struggling with a minor injury during the week.

“We think he will be available for the match against Leipzig,” Pochettino told broadcaster Amazon Prime.

Neymar’s form has also been a source of concern, and the Brazilian still has just one goal to his name this season, and that from a penalty.

Here the world’s most expensive player sometimes cut a frustrated figure and talked his way into a late booking, but that was before he teed up Di Maria for the winner.

Earlier Lille were rewarded for a fine first-half showing with the opening goal just after the half-hour mark.

Burak Yilmaz, who had come close to scoring in the first minute, got to the byline and cut the ball back for Canada striker David to turn it into the net from close range.

Yilmaz was then denied by Gianluigi Donnarumma early in the second half but PSG pushed in search of an equaliser and eventually got it as Di Maria’s chipped ball from the byline was turned in by Marquinhos.

Mauro Icardi, who had replaced Messi at the break, missed a great chance to win it for the home side before Di Maria struck.

Second-placed Lens are in action on Saturday away to Lyon.

Mbappe Takes Centre Stage For PSG In Absence Of Messi, Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts during the French L1 football match between Stade Brestois and Paris Saint-Germain at Francis-Le Ble Stadium in Brest on August 20, 2021. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Lionel Messi, Neymar and a host of other South American stars are missing for Paris Saint-Germain this weekend but Kylian Mbappe will take centre stage after starring for France in their successful UEFA Nations League campaign.

Messi, along with Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria, is with Argentina for their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Peru which was not due to kick off until early on Friday morning, French time.

Neymar and Marquinhos have been with Brazil, due to play Uruguay in a qualifier at the same time.

A third round of South American World Cup qualifiers in quick succession, so close to the weekend, has caused problems for clubs in Europe, where so many leading players are based.

PSG are one of many forced to prepare for matches this weekend without their South American stars, who will not be able to return in time.

“The different federations and FIFA all need to come together so that this type of situation doesn’t happen again,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino when asked about the manic schedule facing his players.

However, he added: “I am not looking for excuses. We have a big squad and it gives a chance to other players.”

Mbappe is available and on a high after scoring two goals and setting up two more as France won the Nations League in Italy.

Mbappe, who scored in the 2018 World Cup final as a teenager, got the decisive goal in last weekend’s final against Spain in Milan.

The 22-year-old’s future remains a subject of much debate with his contract up at the end of this season and Real Madrid waiting in the wings.

READ ALSO: Quicker Vaccinations Key to Pandemic Recovery, Says IMF

“The club will do everything to keep Kylian,” Pochettino told Spanish radio station Cope this week when inevitably pressed on the matter.

“As coach I would love him to stay here for many years to come.”

In Ligue 1 Mbappe has scored four goals this season with PSG already six points clear of Lens at the top of the table despite seeing their perfect start ended in a 2-0 defeat at Rennes two weeks ago.

After Friday’s game they play host to RB Leipzig in the Champions League in what will be their first European outing since beating Manchester City late last month.

Player to watch: Mohamed-Ali Cho

Cho was born in the Paris suburbs and spent time in PSG’s academy, so it will be a special occasion when he comes up against the capital side with Angers this weekend.

Still just 17, winger Cho is a prodigious talent who has already played in 30 top-flight games.

Cho actually spent much of his childhood in England and represented them as a youth international while on the books at Everton.

However, having signed professional terms with Angers, he has broken into the France Under-21 side at the start of this season and looks to have a very exciting future ahead of him.

Key stats

4 – Mbappe has gone four Ligue 1 games without scoring, his longest drought in France’s top flight since May 2018.

190 – The total number of minutes played in Ligue 1 by Messi since he joined PSG.

17 – The number of goals scored by Lille’s Jonathan David in Ligue 1 in 2021. He is fresh from scoring for Canada in a 2022 World Cup qualifier against Panama on Wednesday.

Fixtures (kick-offs GMT)

Friday

Paris Saint-Germain v Angers (1900)

Saturday

Clermont v Lille (1500), Lyon v Monaco (1900)

Sunday

Troyes v Nice (1100), Bordeaux v Nantes, Brest v Reims, Metz v Rennes, Strasbourg v Saint-Etienne (all 1300), Montpellier v Lens (1500), Marseille v Lorient (1845)

World Cup In 2022 ‘Will Be My Last’, Says Neymar

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Istanbul Basaksehir FK at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on December 9, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Brazil star Neymar said Sunday that the 2022 World Cup will be his last as he “doesn’t have the strength to put up with more football”.

“I think it will be my last World Cup,” the 29-year-old told DAZN.

“I will play it like it is the last because I don’t know if I will still have the mental strength to put up with even more football.”

Neymar, who has played in two World Cups and is his country’s second top scorer of all time behind Pele, will be 34 when the 2026 tournament rolls around.

“I will do everything to get to the 2022 World Cup in great shape and will do everything to win for my country, to fulfill my biggest dream since I was little,” added the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Neymar played in the 2014 World Cup on home soil and scored four goals.

However, he was to suffer a back injury before Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals.

Four years later, in Russia, Brazil were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-finals.

So far, his international honours have been limited to the 2013 Confederations Cup and an Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016.

Injury ruled him out of the 2019 Copa America which Brazil won as well as the 2021 edition where Argentina triumphed in the final.

Brazil are comfortably placed to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar having won all nine of their qualifiers in the South American region so far.

AFP

Marseille Win As Messi Continues Search For First PSG Goal

File photo: Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match Club Brugge against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges, on September 15, 2021. JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Goals by Bamba Dieng and Amine Harit gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Rennes that allowed them to move within a point of Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain before the capital side faced Lyon on Sunday evening.

Dieng netted twice in Marseille’s win at Monaco last weekend and the 21-year-old forward from Senegal opened the scoring three minutes into the second half at the Velodrome when he turned in Pol Lirola’s cross.

Moroccan midfielder Amine Harit then saw his shot squeeze into the net under Rennes goalkeeper Alfred Gomis in the 71st minute to make it 2-0 for Marseille, who are unbeaten with 13 points so far this season and have a game in hand.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side lie two points behind leaders PSG, who were seeking to extend their perfect start to the campaign against Lyon at the Parc des Princes.

Lionel Messi was handed his home debut as a PSG player in that game after starting for his new club for the first time in the 1-1 draw away to Club Brugge in Belgium in the Champions League in midweek. The Argentine is yet to score for PSG.

Fellow summer signings Gianluigi Donnarumma and Nuno Mendes also started for Mauricio Pochettino’s team.

Elsewhere in Ligue 1 on Sunday, Wissam Ben Yedder’s spot-kick secured Monaco a 2-2 draw in the Cote d’Azur derby at Nice, while the hosts rued a late missed penalty from Amine Gouiri.

Aleksandr Golovin steered Monaco ahead before half-time in a game played behind closed doors at the Allianz Riviera after Nice were punished over the crowd trouble in last month’s abandoned match with Marseille.

Golovin’s goal was the first Nice had conceded this season after beginning the season with four successive clean sheets.

Andy Delort headed Nice level on 51 minutes with his first goal for the club since signing from Montpellier at the end of August.

Hicham Boudaoui slammed in a cross from fellow Algeria international Delort to give Nice the lead with a quarter-hour to play.

Ben Yedder equalised minutes later after Caio Henrique was clipped by Calvin Stengs in the area, the France forward drilling home the resulting penalty.

Nice had an immediate chance to regain the lead when Benoit Badiashile handled in the area, but Gouiri sliced his attempt well wide — ripping open his shirt in frustration.

The draw kept Nice unbeaten and five points behind PSG.

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Angers missed the chance to retake second place as they went down 4-1 at home to Nantes for their first defeat this season.

Meanwhile, the French league’s disciplinary committee will convene on Monday to discuss the pitch invasion that caused a 30-minute delay during Lens’ 1-0 win over northern derby rivals Lille on Saturday.

“The LFP strongly condemns the trouble, the pitch invasion and the violence that took place” during the game at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Dozens of Lens supporters stormed the pitch at half-time to confront the visiting Lille fans nestled away in a corner of the ground after tensions flared with other spectators.

Riot police intervened to separate the factions of opposing supporters as both sets of fans hurled seats at each other over a partition wall.

Six people sustained minor injuries and police made two arrests.

AFP

Messi To Play With Neymar And Mbappe For First Time, Says Pochettino

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L), Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (C) and Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi take part in a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club's training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 28, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L), Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe (C) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi take part in a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club’s training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 28, 2021. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Kylian Mbappe, coveted by Real Madrid, should be in the Paris Saint-Germain squad at Reims, along with Lionel Messi, who could make his debut, and Neymar, coach Mauricio Pochettino said on Saturday.

“We have not yet announced the squad,” the coach told his press conference ahead of Sunday evening’s Ligue 1 match, adding that all the ‘magic trio’ “will certainly be among those named, we will see if they can play from the start of the match.”

Pochettino said Mbappe had not told him he wanted to leave PSG for Real Madrid.

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“Kylian has worked very well in training as usual”, Pochettino said.

As for the striker’s contractual situation, “our president and our sporting director have been clear about the club’s position”, Pochettino added.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reiterated at the Champions League draw on Thursday that the club had not changed its position and intended to keep Mbappe.

Even without Messi and Neymar, PSG have won all three of their opening league games.

French Slam FIFA Over Release Of Messi, Neymar For World Cup Matches

(From L) Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain’s Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera attend a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club’s training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on august 13, 2021. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

 

 

The French Professional Football League (LFP) shared the regrets expressed by other European leagues over FIFA’s handling of September’s World Cup qualifiers in South America. 

The Italian and English top-flight leagues are also upset about FIFA’s decision to not extend exceptions for call-ups to countries where quarantine upon re-entry is mandatory.

“The LFP regrets that FIFA has failed to take into account the interests of national leagues nor those of the clubs that employ the players,” the French league said.

One such employer, Paris Saint-Germain, will send its two brightest stars Lionel Messi and Neymar to Argentina and Brazil for an extended series of World Cup dates.

FIFA offers no provision for clubs to refuse to send their players to a nation where they would be required to quarantine on return.

“This poses a major problem for clubs,” the LFP said.

Spain’s La Liga also said it would back its clubs in stopping players from leaving during the windows in September and October.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino demanded that the leagues and national federations “show solidarity” with international competitions.

Neymar Says Nike Claim Of Split Over Sex Assault Probe A ‘Lie’

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar warms up prior to the UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester City at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 28, 2021. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Neymar said Friday Nike’s claim that it parted ways with him last year because he refused to cooperate with its internal investigation into an employee’s accusation he sexually assaulted her was an “absurd lie.”

The allegation is the latest to stain the image of the Brazilian superstar, whose 222-million-euro ($270 million) transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 makes him the world’s most expensive footballer.

Nike said Thursday it had ended its sponsorship deal with Neymar over an employee’s claim he tried to force himself on her and his failure to cooperate with its investigation.

“(To) state that my contract (with Nike) was terminated because I did not contribute in good faith to an investigation is an absurd lie,” Neymar wrote on Instagram.

“I was not given the opportunity to defend myself. I was not given the opportunity to know who this person was that was allegedly offended. I don’t even know her. I’ve never had any kind of relationship or approach with this person.”

Nike said the alleged assault happened in 2016, but was only reported to the company in 2018.

The US sportswear giant had sponsored Neymar, 29, since he was a 13-year-old prodigy.

It did not give a reason when it terminated its deal with him in August 2020.

The superstar is now a poster boy for Puma. His deal with the German sportswear giant was announced in September 2020.

‘They did nothing’

The Nike employee accused Neymar of trying to force her to perform oral sex on him in a New York hotel room during a promotional trip for a new line of sneakers, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first broke the story.

Neymar denied the accusation, and said Nike had nevertheless continued sending him on promotional tours.

“In 2017 I traveled again to the USA for another advertising campaign, with the same people, and nothing was told to me, nothing changed!” he wrote.

“In 2017, 2018, 2019 we made trips, advertising campaigns, countless shooting sections. And they told me nothing. Such a serious matter and they did nothing.”

In a previous statement, a Neymar spokeswoman said he and Nike had split for commercial reasons.

The player’s father accused the company of “blackmail.”

“It’s all very strange” that the accusation only came to light years later, after Neymar left Nike, he told Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.

Tarnished star

Nike said in a statement it was prepared to investigate in 2018 when the woman first came forward, but “respected the employee’s initial desire to keep this matter confidential and avoid an investigation.”

The firm therefore did not go further until 2019, when she expressed an interest in pursuing the matter, it said.

That was the same year another woman filed a rape complaint against Neymar in his native Brazil.

He vehemently denied that accusation, and the case was eventually dropped.

Neymar is currently in Brazil training with the national team north of Rio de Janeiro ahead of two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

The superstar seemed “normal, the same as always,” teammate Emerson told a news conference.

Neymar extended his contract with French champions PSG earlier this month, through the 2024-2025 season.

With his on-pitch exploits and huge following on social media, Neymar is one of the biggest names in sports.

But his shine has often been tarnished.

His image as an eternal spoiled child was revived late last year by rumors of a huge year-end party he organized in Brazil in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

He has also raised eyebrows with his alleged diving, hard-partying lifestyle, and love of bling, which critics say contrasts with the relative lack of it in his trophy case.

AFP

Nike Splits With Neymar Over Refusal To Cooperate With Sex Assault Probe

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar warms up prior to the UEFA Champions League first leg semi-final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester City at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 28, 2021.
Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

 

Nike said Thursday it parted ways with Neymar last year after the superstar Brazil attacker “refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation” as the company probed an employee’s claim that he sexually assaulted her.

The apparel giant said in a statement that its investigation into the alleged 2016 incident — which was reported to the company in 2018 — was inconclusive.

“No single set of facts emerged that would enable us to speak substantively on the matter,” the company said.

In a Wall Street Journal article reporting the assault allegation, a spokeswoman for Neymar said the player denies the claim.

“Neymar Jr. will vigorously defend himself against these baseless attacks in case any claim is presented, which did not happen so far,” she said in a statement, adding that Nike and Neymar split for commercial reasons.

Nike said otherwise in its statement.

“It would be inappropriate for Nike to make an accusatory statement without being able to provide supporting facts,” the company said, but added: “Nike ended its relationship with the athlete because he refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation of credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee.”

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing documents and unnamed people, that Nike hired lawyers at Cooley LLP to conduct an investigation starting in 2019 and decided to stop featuring Neymar in marketing during the probe.

In its statement, the company said it was prepared to investigate in 2018 when the woman first came forward, but “respected the employee’s initial desire to keep this matter confidential and avoid an investigation.”

The firm therefore didn’t share information with law enforcement or any other third party until 2019, when she expressed an interest in pursuing the matter.

“We continue to respect the confidentiality of the employee and also recognize that this has been a long and difficult experience for her,” Nike said.

Neymar’s spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the two parties had been in talks since 2019.

“It is very strange a case that was supposed to have happened in 2016, with allegations by a Nike employee, come to light only at that moment,” she told the newspaper.

Neymar’s father accused Nike of “blackmail.”

“We were surprised by something that happened in 2016,” the senior Neymar told Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. “It’s all very strange now. Neymar doesn’t even know this girl, of course this came from Nike after we left.”

Nike did not give a reason when it terminated its contract with Neymar at the end of August 2020. The company had sponsored Neymar, 29, since he was a 13-year-old prodigy.

The superstar announced in September 2020 that he had signed an endorsement deal with Puma to become the German sportswear giant’s new poster boy.

Earlier this month, Neymar signed a contract extension with French champions Paris Saint-Germain that will keep him with the club until the end of the 2024-2025 season.

The Brazilian said he had “grown as a person, as a human being” since joining the club in 2017 from Barcelona for 222 million euros ($270 million) in what remains the most expensive transfer in history.

Neymar has claimed three Ligue 1 titles and two French Cups with PSG, although he has also provoked hostility from fans by saying he wanted to return to Barcelona.

His image as an eternal spoiled child was revived late last year by rumors, which he did not deny, of a giant year-end party he organized in his homeland in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

A young woman also filed a complaint against him for rape in 2019 — a case he vehemently denied and that was eventually dropped.

Neymar To Miss PSG’s French Cup Final Against Monaco

File photo of Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 28, 2021. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Neymar will not play for Paris Saint-Germain in next week’s French Cup final against Monaco after a booking in Wednesday’s semi-final saw the Brazilian incur a suspension.

The world’s most expensive player was shown a yellow card not long after coming on as a late substitute in the last-four tie in Montpellier, triggering a one-game ban that had been hanging over him since he was sent off in a Ligue 1 match against Lille last month.

PSG could still appeal the ban, thereby potentially releasing him to play against Monaco in the final at the Stade de France, which will go ahead behind closed doors.

“I would like to understand the head of the guy who made the rule on cards in France!” Neymar reacted on Instagram.

“He deserves to be applauded. What confusion.”

Neymar scored in the shoot-out as PSG beat Montpellier 6-5 on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the semi-finals.

The former Barcelona superstar, who last week signed a contract extension to keep him in Paris until 2025, scored the only goal when PSG beat Saint-Etienne in last season’s final.

PSG will already be without the injured Marco Verratti and the suspended Presnel Kimpembe for the final.

Before that game, Mauricio Pochettino’s side host Reims in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

With two matches remaining they sit three points behind league leaders Lille.

AFP

Yilmaz, Mbappe, Neymar Nominated For Ligue 1 Player Of The Year

Lille’s Trukish midefielder Burak Yilmaz (L) celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Lens and Lille LOSC at the Bollaert Stadium, in Lens, northern France, on May 7, 2021. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP)

 

Lille striker Burak Yilmaz and Paris Saint-Germain pair Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been named among the five nominees for the Ligue 1 players’ player of the season award, the French league (LFP) announced Tuesday.

Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder and Lyon forward Memphis Depay make up the list.

Turkey veteran Yilmaz has hit a rich vein of form in the closing stages of the campaign, netting six times in five matches to put Lille on the brink of a shock title success.

Lille need just four points from their final two games against Saint-Etienne and Angers to secure their first Ligue 1 triumph since 2011.

Reigning champions PSG are in danger of failing to win the league for only the second time in nine seasons.

Mbappe is still Ligue 1’s top scorer this term with 25 goals, six clear of Ben Yedder and Depay, but Neymar has endured a frustrating season, netting only eight times while spending time sidelined through injury, suspension and after contracting coronavirus.

AFP