Neymar returns to PSG

Source:AFP Published: 2019/7/16 18:23:40

Brazilian star’s future remains uncertain

Neymar holds a trophy during a five-a-side soccer tournament for his charity in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday. Photo: AFP

Neymar returned to training with Paris Saint-Germain on Monday, a week later than his teammates and days after controversially claiming his best soccer memory was beating PSG when he played for Barcelona.

A video posted on the website of leading sports daily L'Equipe showed the 27-year-old Brazilian - his hair dyed peroxide blonde - getting out of a black Mercedes van at the club's training ground in the French capital.

PSG officially began preseason training on July 8 but Neymar, linked with a move back to Barcelona, was not there, with the player's camp maintaining he had a prior agreement to stay away.

The French champions responded last week by threatening to take "appropriate action" against the world's most expensive player, who said he had stayed in Brazil to attend a charity five-a-side soccer tournament run by his foundation, the Neymar Institute.

On Saturday, Neymar, who joined PSG for 222 million euros ($264 million) from Barcelona in 2017, made a series of remarks that strained his relationship further with the club and sparked outrage on social media. 

Asked about his best memory in soccer, the troubled superstar cited Barcelona's incredible 2017 Champions League victory over PSG when he was part of the team that overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit by winning 6-1 in the second leg of their last-16 tie.

Earlier in the day, Neymar posted a 10-­second video of himself in a Barcelona shirt and a quote from the Bible, "No weapon turned against you will prosper."

Neymar's father, who is also the player's representative, later defended his son in an Instagram post, saying, "At no point did my son show a lack of respect to PSG or the players who played in that game in 2017."

"My son plays for PSG, but he can't simply ignore his past that led to him arriving at the French club," Neymar Senior added.

It has been a troubled summer for the player, who missed Brazil's triumphant Copa America campaign on home soil after suffering an ankle injury in a warm-up friendly against Qatar in early June.

He was also questioned by Brazilian police last month over allegations he raped a woman he met through social media in a Paris hotel. He has denied the accusations. 

PSG's new sporting director Leonardo last week opened the door to the player leaving the club "if there is an offer that suits everyone."

The chances of him returning to Barca, where he previously starred for four years, cannot have been helped by the completion of Antoine Griezmann's transfer to the Camp Nou from Atletico Madrid. That deal was completed Friday when the Catalans activated Griezmann's 120 million euro ($135 million) release clause.

Posted in: SOCCER

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