PARIS – Neymar Jr.’s temper has put him into a series of bad situations so far this year, with the latest incident likely to result in a new suspension for the Paris Saint-Germain winger after he attacked a fan following his side’s defeat by Stade Rennais FC in the Coupe de France final on the weekend.
After being sidelined for a long stretch this season due to his foot injury, the Brazilian star also watched his French side’s loss in the Champions League to England’s Manchester United.
Neymar then criticized the referee of the Man United UCL second-leg match on his Instagram account, a move that was paid back by UEFA with a three-match ban set to be applied next season.
Yet, Neymar has once again become the goat in the realm of public opinion following his most recent incident Saturday with a Rennais supporter, who allegedly told the player to “learn how to play” when the Brazil international was climbing the stairs at the Stade de France to pick up his second place medal after PSG’s French cup loss to Rennais.
If the French soccer federation (FFF) disciplinary committee rules that Neymar did punch a fan, even if it did not result in any injury (Article 1-13), the Brazilian star could be suspended for up to eight matches.
If the committee members decide to be benevolent and consider the incident to be just an attempted attack (Article 1-11), the player will be punished with only a five-match ban.
However, as reported on Monday by local newspaper L’Equipe, the capital club’s strategy from the beginning has been to demonstrate that Neymar suffered a prior provocation, arguing that this should be considered a mitigating circumstance that should lighten his penalty.
In any case, the insults directed at the Brazilian were not the only ones PSG players have received. And not all of them have responded in the same way.
The fan – who supposedly was identified as a friend of a Rennais player – called goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon a “dirty buffoon” and Marco Verratti a “racist” when PSG players passed by him and other fans, according to a mobile-recorded video shot by the fan himself.
Whatever happens, it is not out of the question to suppose that Neymar’s season may be over, with five Ligue 1 games remaining but where the capital side has already clinched the title.
In fact, according to L’Equipe, PSG is interested in having the case decided as soon as possible so that Neymar can serve the ban before the end of this season, a season that probably will not be among the Brazilian star’s fondest memories.
On Monday, PSG’s German coach Thomas Tuchel had his say on the incident at a press conference stating that “You can’t do that,” even if there was some kind of provocation.
“I didn’t like (it) at all,” Tuchel added, who sees how his own star has started to fade in Paris after the European elimination and the French cup final defeat to Rennais in a penalty shootout.
Tuchel stressed that “it’s not easy to get over a defeat.”
Shortly thereafter, Neymar apologized for his attitude on his Instagram account but also justified it.
“Did I act wrongly?” he posted. “Yes, but nobody can remain indifferent” to the insults.
French media are questioning the reason for Neymar’s actions, which appear to be evidence of a fragile time for a player who has never been able to completely get along with the Parisian fans since joining PSG in the summer of 2017.
During his first season there was the underlying tension with Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, an idol to PSG fans, while in the second Neymar has been overshadowed by the emerging Kylian Mbappe.
In addition, the Brazilian star also has also been unlucky enough to suffer the same foot injury in both seasons, which each time forced him to be sidelined for months.
This season, the former Barcelona player was criticized by the media for being caught dancing at the Rio de Janeiro Carnival shortly after flying home from Paris after sustaining the injury.