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Neymar: Al-Khelaifi's iron fist does not bode well for PSG star

The cases of Hatem Ben Arfa and Adrien Rabiot should serve as a warning as the Brazilian continues to push the club president to the limit of his patience.

Neymar y Al Khelaifi durante su presentación con el Paris Saint-Germain.
Xavier LaineGetty Images

Neymar’s attempt to see who will blink first in his bid to engineer a move from PSG this summer could end badly for the Brazilian with the Parisian club’s president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, not noted for his indulgence of rebellious players.

The PSG president recently warned that he had spoken to Neymar’s father and sent the same message to all of the club’s players that “a lack of committment, involvement, determination and mentality,” would no longer be tolerated, citing Liverpool’s resilience as the example to follow as he seeks to instill a “winning mentality” into the side.

Neymar has made no secret of his desire to leave, preferably for a return to Camp Nou, and PSG sporting director Leonardo seemed to confirm that the club have had enough of the Brazilian and will do business if the right offer comes in, but Neymar faces an uncertain future if he finds himself stuck at the Parc des Princes under a cloud when the transfer window closes.

Ben Arfa and Rabiot precedents

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Al-Khelaifi has displayed his ruthless touch before with the cases of Adrien Rabiot and Hatem Ben Arfa.

The French midfielder refused to sign a new contract at PSG and was swiftly removed from first-team duties and sent to train with the reserves. In the case of Ben Arfa, the mercurial midfielder felt obliged to sue PSG for “discrimination and workplace harassment” after he was effectively frozen out of the side for a year after turning down a move in the summer of 2017.

While a player of Neymar’s stature is unlikely to be sent to train with the stiffs, his recent behaviour after the French Cup final, off-pitch problems and decision to describe Barça’s 6-1 Champions League comeback over his present side as the highlight of his career are unlikely to guarantee a warm response when he reports back to the Parc des Princes for talks with Leonardo on Monday as player and club seek an amicable end to what has always been a marriage of considerable inconvenience.


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