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Neymar charged for actions, comments after VAR controversy

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Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, has been charged by UEFA for “insulting and/or molesting acts against the match official” following the video-review controversy which ultimately eliminated Paris Saint-Germain from the UEFA Champions League earlier this month.

[ MORE: Sane, Gundogan allegedly racially abused on Germany duty ]

While Neymar was unable to play in the game due to a broken metatarsal, he was seen near the PSG bench in the game’s final minutes, waiting to celebrate progression to the quarterfinals with his teammates. Then came the controversial decision to award Manchester United a penalty kick deep into stoppage time, which sent the Red Devils through instead.

[ MORE: Report: Man United stars lined up for exit ]

Once the following whistle had blown, Neymar is alleged to have attempted to confront referee Damir Skomina, but was eventually restrained. He then took to Instagram where he posted some quite unsavory comments:

“This is a disgrace, they put four people that know nothing about football in charge of looking at the replay for VAR. There is no penalty. How can it be a handball when it hits his back?! Go f**k yourselves!”

A hearing will take place at a later date to determine what, if any, punishment Neymar will receive.

PSG scores legal win over UEFA in financial monitoring case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Paris Saint-Germain has won an initial legal battle with UEFA over the monitoring of its spending on player transfers and wages.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it has upheld PSG’s appeal against an attempt by UEFA investigators to reopen a previously closed investigation.

The judgment in favor of PSG is separate from another UEFA investigation of its finances in the 2017-18 season when the Qatari-owned French champions signed Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The appeal judgment related to UEFA’s club finance monitoring panel wanting to review a decision that declared PSG’s accounts through June 2017 compliant with “Financial Fair Play” rules.

The court says UEFA missed its deadline to challenge the previous decision.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Mbappe, Neymar reportedly won’t try to leave PSG

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Two of the world’s brightest attacking stars look set to stay in Paris for another season, says ESPN.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will not angle to leave Paris Saint-Germain in the summer despite big money interest from Real Madrid, who is in the market to spend big on some Galacticos to play with Vinicius Junior.

[ MORE: PL Player of Year candidates ]

The report says Financial Fair Play concerns will dictate a number of sales, with Giovani Lo Celso, Jese Rodriguez, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Thomas Meunier, Layvin Kurzawa, and Christopher Nkunku speculated as possible exits.

Meanwhile, AS reports that PSG is interested in Antoine Griezmann should it get a suitable bid for either Mbappe or Neymar.

It would make some sense for PSG. At 27, Neymar has been fabulous while healthy but has missed long stretches of each of the last two seasons with injury.

Les Parisiens could replace him with Griezmann, a French World Cup hero, who carries a $226 million release clause which AS says will not be negotiated by Atletico Madrid. How much more would Neymar cost Real than that? He went for around $254 million in 2017.

How much different will PSG look next year? Adrien Rabiot seems certain to leave the Parc des Princes, and Meunier is the only player mentioned by AS getting serious minutes under Thomas Tuchel.

What seems more likely is PSG sell its superfluous pieces and put a focus on developing its young players in Ligue 1 play with Neymar, Mbappe, Cavani, and Marco Verratti focusing their eyes on the Champions League

Monaco slows down Lille’s Champions League bid with 1-0 win

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PARIS (AP) Monaco boosted its chances of staying up and slowed down Lille’s bid for an automatic Champions League place with a 1-0 away win on Friday.

Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius pounced in the last minute to move Monaco up to 16th place in the French league and keep Lille under pressure in the fight for second.

[ MORE: Ligue 1 score, schedule

Third-place Lyon can close the gap to four points with a home win against seventh-place Montpellier on Sunday, after which both sides have nine games left.

In Friday’s other game, eighth-place Nice conceded a last-gasp equalizer in a 1-1 home draw with 14th-place Toulouse.

As so often this season, Nice played without a recognized center forward and midfielder Wylan Cyprien opened the scoring midway through the first half with a free kick from 30 meters (33 yards) out. Striker Firmin Mubele equalized in the 89th minute for Toulouse, which moved further away from the danger zone.

Meanwhile, runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain remains 17 points clear of Lille despite playing two games less, and is even closer to another title after Lille’s stumble.

PSG hosts bitter rival Marseille on Sunday, with only the title and the French Cup to focus on following its surprise elimination from the Champions League.

Marseille has found form since the arrival of striker Mario Balotelli from Nice. He has netted five times in seven games to help the club into fourth place.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Messi magic as Barcelona crushes Lyon (video)

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Lionel Messi put on another masterclass as Barcelona buried Lyon 5-1 on Wednesday at the Camp Nou to advance to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Messi saw Ronaldo’s hat trick versus Atletico Madrid, and raised him a Man of the Match display of his own with two goals and two assists.

Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique, and Philippe Coutinho also scored for Barca in the win, while Lucas Tousart scored for Lyon.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was always likely to be a key component of any French upset, and stopped Lionel Messi inside of the first five minutes.

Former Man City man Jason Denayer took down Luis Suarez after Messi slipped him into the box, and Messi made no mistake with a chipped penalty after VAR upheld the decision.

Coutinho made it 2-0 in the 31st minute, on the scene to push a goal home after Suarez cut through the Lyon back line.

The French side didn’t walk away, though, and scored its goal through Tousart in the 65th minute.

But have you guys and girls heard of this Messi character? He scored the side’s third goal before cueing up Pique and Dembele for their insurance tallies.