Neymar responds to PSG controversy: 'It happened, a little discussion, we didn't agree'
- Neymar allegedly berated team-mates
- Acknowledged disagreement did occur
- But suggested matter is overblown
WHAT HAPPENED? PSG followed a last-16 exit in the Coupe de France with a dismal 3-1 defeat against Monaco in Ligue 1. The Brazilian turned in another underwhelming performance - which has been typical of his inconsistent post-World Cup form - before reportedly locking horns with team-mates Vitinha and Hugo Ekitike after the full-time whistle.
WHAT THEY SAID: "It happened, a little discussion, we didn't agree," the Brazilian said in a press conference. "It happens to us every day, but I love them all, it's like with my girlfriend. Football is not just love, not just friendship. There is respect but it happens to have discussions. We are not used to losing, when there are defeats, of course it disturbs us. It is part of the process to improve.
"For the locker room, it is sometimes lies what comes out in the press and it goes around the world. Rumours have happened to come out at key moments of the season. We have to look for what's going on, it's not normal for stories to come out in the press, it has to stay between us. We have to walk together. When there's news like that, we're angry. I guarantee you that a lot of information is wrong, some is true."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Neymar's alleged outburst had led to reports that the 31-year-old could be forced out of the club in the summer. But coach Christophe Galtier backed up the Brazilian's claims that post-match "discussions" are just part of the game, hinting that all was in order behind the scenes. Marquinhos, meanwhile, spoke about being captain in that star-filled atmosphere, days after getting into a disagreement with Presnel Kimpembe about how to handle fans following the Monaco loss.
"When there is frustration, it has to come out," Galtier said. "I have been leading this way for years. You have to listen to them but they also have to listen to me. There is frustration that breeds anger. We talked, I listened to them, I hope they listened to me too."
AND WHAT'S MORE: Despite the calm fronts put on by both Neymar and Galtier, such turbulence off the pitch will not offer the best preparation for their blockbuster Champions League clash against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. PSG go into that game having lost their last two in all competitions, but will be buoyed by the miraculous return to fitness of Kylian Mbappe, who was back in training on Monday following a hamstring problem.
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WHAT NEXT FOR PSG? Galtier's side will take on Bayern in what will be a repeat of the 2019-20 final, which they lost, and the French side will be hoping to avoid yet more European heartbreak at the early stages.