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Neymar leads tributes to Kobe Bryant (video)

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Neymar dedicated his second goal to Kobe Bryant, who, along with eight others, tragically passed away on Sunday.

The Brazilian star approached a sideline camera after his second goal of the night, gesturing the numbers two and four with his fingers, a number worn by Bryant during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following the game, Neymar paid additional respect to Bryant via Twitter.

It reads in English: “Sad day for us in sports, for us fans and especially for Kobe’s family and friends. A legend has been made with your hands, thank you for extolling the Kobe sport … may God comfort the hearts of your family and friends”

Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and six others, died in the helicopter accident on Sunday morning in Southern California.

A basketball legend and soccer fan, others within the sport paid tribute to Bryant:

Neymar’s two goals not enough as PSG draws 3-3 with Monaco

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PARIS — Neymar’s two goals were not enough as Monaco punished sloppy defending to draw 3-3 at French league leader Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.

PSG moved five points ahead of second-place Marseille, with PSG playing its game in hand at Monaco on Wednesday.

Robert Moreno’s first league game in charge of Monaco, after replacing the fired Leonardo Jardim, was an impressive one as his side twice came from behind and nearly won late on at Parc des Princes.

Neymar put PSG ahead in the third minute with an excellent finish, controlling a clever lofted pass over the defense from Italy midfielder Marco Verratti on his chest and nonchalantly guiding the ball inside the near post.

But Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas picked out Wissam Ben Yedder with a flicked pass from the edge of the area and, after Ben Yedder was bundled over by goalkeeper Keylor Navas, midfielder Gelson Martins poked in the loose ball after seven minutes.

Monaco’s second goal in the 12th looked alarmingly easy.

A team move started from the edge of Monaco’s penalty area ended with Ben Yedder collecting a pass inside PSG’s area, shuffling past a defender, and expertly beating Navas with a curling shot for his league-leading 14th goal of the season.

Eighth-place Monaco should have been 3-1 up but, with time to pick his spot, forward Keita Balde placed his shot too close to Navas.

PSG punished that immediately, with Neymar collecting a pass from Angel Di Maria and curling a shot which deflected off defender Fode Ballo-Toure for an own-goal in the 24th, making it 2-2.

After Monaco center half Kamil Glik hit the post with a header from a corner, PSG went ahead in the 42nd. Martins fouled Kylian Mbappe for a penalty, and Neymar sent goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte the wrong way with ease for his 10th league goal.

Still, Monaco pressed forward and Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin curled wide with the goal at his mercy seconds before the break.

Lecomte reacted well to keep out Neymar’s shot early on in an even second half.

Substitute Islam Slimani punished more slack PSG defending to equalize in the 70th, turning home a loose ball after Martins bamboozled the PSG defense and his shot was deflected by Marquinhos into the alert Slimani’s path.

The referee disallowed the goal for offside, but then awarded it after a video review because Marquinhos’ intervention effectively played Slimani back onside.

Navas made a sharp one-handed save to keep out Slimani’s close-range header from a corner in the 88th. PSG was lucky to avoid a penalty since center half Thiago Silva deflected Slimani’s header with his raised hand.

CLINICAL NANTES

Mehdi Abeid and Ludovic Blas provided the goals as Nantes won 2-0 at struggling Saint-Etienne to move up to fourth place.

Abeid put Nantes ahead in the 23rd minute with a powerful strike from outside the penalty area after Saint-Etienne’s defense failed to clear the ball properly.

Blas netted three minutes after the break from Nigeria forward Moses Simon’s pass.

Saint-Etienne’s form has dropped in recent games and a ninth defeat of the season pushed coach Claude Puel‘s side down to 15th spot.

HOME COMFORT

Dijon extended its unbeaten home run to eight league games with a 1-0 win against Lille, despite having a player sent off early on.

Defender Hamza Mendyl received a red card in the 21st minute for kicking Luiz Araujo in the ribs.

After Lille missed several chances, Dijon scored in the 47th when Julio Tavares latched onto midfielder Mama Balde’s chested pass and shot confidently past goalkeeper Mike Maignan for his fourth league goal this season.

Both teams finished with 10 men after Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare was sent off in the 67th.

Lille dropped to fifth place behind Nantes while Dijon, which beat PSG at home this season, rose to 16th place.

Neymar set to make PSG debut at Guingamp

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After an administrative snafu kept him off the field, Paris Saint-Germain could debut its record signing Neymar this weekend.

The French Football Federation announced in a tweet on its official account that it had received Neymar’s international transfer certificate from the Spanish Football Federation, clearing the Brazilian to take the field for PSG on Sunday at Guingamp.

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Even without Neymar, PSG easily dispatched Amiens, 2-0 last Saturday in the Ligue 1 season opener.

Neymar asks to leave Barcelona, club confirms

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The Neymar transfer saga is reaching its climax.

Early Wednesday morning, FC Barcelona released a statement that Neymar and his father Neymar Santos Sr. had expressed their desire to leave the club following a meeting with team executives. It’s been widely reported that Paris Saint-Germain is Neymar’s next destination.

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The club also confirmed that while Neymar remains under contract at Barcelona, he has permission to stay away from preseason training.

Barcelona’s response to Neymar and his family was to say that the €222 million ($262.57 million) buy-out clause must be paid in full, which if done so, would make Neymar the world’s most expensive transfer.

Neymar is coming off a strong performance for Barcelona at the International Champions Cup in the U.S., scoring three goals with two assists over the three-game tour. However, since before the trip to America, it’s been rumored that Neymar wants to leave the club for a variety of reasons, with PSG the club strongest linked to be willing and able to pay the huge release clause.

Neymar’s transfer to PSG would send seismic shocks across the soccer landscape. While he’s surely a star and likely worth that amount of money, his transfer would raise a new bar for other players to meet in the future, and it would likely raise the price of transfers for players near his stratosphere of skill level.

But even more importantly, it would raise the pressure on Neymar, who at PSG would become the man, just like Zlatan Ibrahamovic was during his four-year stay. Nothing short of a league title and UEFA Champions League glory would suffice for Neymar if he does move to PSG for more than $260 million, and that’s a level of pressure thankfully most of us won’t ever have to shoulder in our lives.

The news also likely brings an end to Neymar’s time in Barcelona, where he grew from a starlet into a world star worthy of having a team built around him. Neymar appeared in 186 games in all competitions for Barcelona since joining the club from Santos, scoring 106 goals and dishing out 57 assists, including 21 last season.

Neymar storms off after training dustup with teammate

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Neymar just won’t stay out of the headlines.

As his long-rumored “will he, won’t he go” transfer saga between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona continues, Neymar stormed out of training on Thursday after getting into a tussle with teammate Nelson Semedo.

A video from the Daily Mail shows Neymar pushing Semedo before walking off and removing his training bib.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg_nCI7ddZE

Neymar has reportedly agreed to personal terms with PSG over a move to France, but PSG have yet to come up with the nearly $260 million it would cost to trigger Neymar’s release clause. The news of Neymar possibly leaving Barcelona came as a shock, as he’s been content since joining the club to play slightly in the shadow of teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

If this fight is any indication, Neymar’s head could be turned and should PSG trigger the release clause, Neymar could be heading to Paris once Barcelona returns this weekend from its American sojourn.

In spite of all the transfer speculation, Neymar has dazzled for Barcelona on its tour of the U.S., scoring three goals in two games and delighting the thousands in attendance.