Neymar no-show: PSG fume as rumours of Barcelona return intensify
After Brazilian goes awol the French champions say he can leave if the offer is right
Brazilian bad boy Neymar is set to be punished by Paris Saint-Germain after he failed to turn up for the first day of pre-season training.
According to a statement released on the website of the French champions, the absence of Neymar was not expected.
“Neymar da Silva Santos Junior was due to return to pre-season activities with the Paris Saint-Germain senior squad,” ran the statement.
“Paris Saint-Germain notes that Neymar Jr was not in attendance at the agreed time and place. This was without the club’s prior authorisation. The club regrets this situation and will therefore take appropriate action.”
Whatever action the club may take, it will only exacerbate the tension between them and the South American striker.
Since joining PSG two years ago from Barcelona, rumours have consistently suggested he is unhappy in the French capital.
Reports at the weekend from Spain only deepened the intrigue with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirming that Neymar wanted to leave the Parc des Princes.
“We know that Neymar wants to leave PSG, but PSG don’t want Neymar to leave, so there is no story,” he told reporters.
However, The Sun reports that PSG knew that Neymar would be “awol from training” - or at least that’s what the player’s father is claiming.
Neymar was in Brazil at the weekend to watch his national team-mates win the Copa America, and according to Neymar Sr (who is also his agent), they had informed PSG that he wouldn’t return until 16 July because of a long-standing engagement with his charitable foundation.
“The reason is known, scheduled a year ago with the annual schedule of Instituto Projeto Neymar,” explained Neymar Sr. “We could not change, and the presentation will be on the 15th. It is that simple... no controversy, and PSG [was] informed.”
Some people in Spain believe that Neymar’s absence is the final step in his bid to break free of PSG and return to Barcelona.
Furthermore, the 27-year-old is irritated with the “slow pace of the transfer and has told both parties to hurry up”.
Sport goes so far as to say that Neymar has agreed personal terms with the Catalan outfit, and French paper Le Parisien carried comments on Monday night from PSG sporting director Leonardo that indicate the club has decided to jettison the troublesome star.
“Neymar can leave PSG if there is an offer that suits all parties,” said Leonardo. “But to date, we do not know if anyone wants to buy it or at what price.”