Paris Saint-Germain won the Trophee de Champions 2-1 over Stade Rennes in comeback fashion, but the focus was on the postmatch celebration as Neymar’s rift with the club was highlighted in one incredibly awkward 30-second stretch.
The Brazilian was suspended for the match thanks to his outburst following the Coupe de France loss at thee end of last season, and was in street clothes as he watched from the stands.
As the team celebrated the season-opening hardware in the aftermath of the victory, Neymar was standing just to the side of the squad jubilations on the podium in falling confetti. He was close enough that midfielder Marco Verratti, situated on the bottom corner of the three-tiered setup, yanked Neymar into the celebration and put his arm around the Brazilian who appears confused and unsure of his acceptance into the fold but reluctantly goes along with it. Kylian Mbappe, standing just above Verratti, notices Neymar and puts his arm around the Brazilian with a smile, seemingly excited that Neymar has joined the group.
However, moments later as the team came closer together for a picture, Mbappe was clearly seen yanking Neymar forcefully out of the picture and had some indiscernible words for the Brazilian as he did so before crouching down for the photo.
The entire situation is utterly cringeworthy and creates more confusion as to where Neymar stands not only with the club’s executives but also the squad. The Brazilian international
Mbappe spoke about his relationship with Neymar just yesterday, saying that he “admires and respects” Neymar and wants him to stay at the club. The Frenchman claimed that he and Neymar have spoken and that he made it clear to Neymar he wishes for their playing relationship to continue.
Neymar has found himself on the wrong end of suspensions, criminal investigations, and fan unrest during his time at PSG, and the accumulation of unsavory moments has stoked furious media speculation that Neymar wishes to leave the club this summer. The club’s public stance has been one of staunch support for Neymar, claiming that he is not for sale, but the reports will not go away. This will only serve to worsen the speculation and incite reports of further locker room unrest.