What caused the argument between Neymar and Mbappé against Montpellier?
The Ligue 1 champions plan to sit their two star forwards down with Luis Campos and Christophe Galtier to address tension between the pair.
It seems quiet weeks do not exist at PSG. Despite the euphoria generated among fans by Kylian Mbappé's contract renewal in May, the Ligue 1 champions had their first ‘crisis’ of the season at the the weekend involving two of their star players, Neymar and The France forward. The duo had their ups and downs in the 5-2 rout of Montpellier and the club has now decided to intervene to nip the matter in the bud.
According to L’Équipe, a meeting between the two and manager Christophe Galtier, to be also attended by sporting director Luis Campos, is scheduled for this week to smooth ruffled feathers after what happened on Saturday at the Parc des Princes. It all started in the 38th minute: After having missed a penalty earlier in the game, Mbappé insisted on taking another, but Neymar refused. There was a brief discussion between the two and The Brazilian, clearly convinced he should take the penalty, took the ball to the spot himself and scored the second of PSG’s five goals.
In his post-match press conference, Galtier acknowledged that the penalties had been taken based on a previously established order. Mbappé was the first taker designated for the game and Neymar the second. However, it didn’t end there. Hours later, Neymar “liked” two posts on Twitter that questioned the power Mbappé holds at PSG while pointing out that Neymar is a penalty specialist and the Frenchman, for all his undoubted talent, is not.
Mbappé upset last week in training
Mbappé's performance against Montpellier, which was not up to his usual standard despite a goal in the second half, was conditioned by personal problems, it later transpired. As reported by L’Équipe, Mbappé was out of sorts in training last week for unknown personal reasons. Against Montpellier, in addition to his row with Neymar over the penalty, the striker was angry with Vitinha for failing to pass him the ball and also engaged in an argument with club captain Marquinhos.
Mbappé has not started the season on the right foot. He missed the French Super Cup against Nantes due to suspension and was also not involved in the thrashing of Clermont on matchday one. In his first official match after signing his new contract, the former Monaco player misplaced a lot of passes, displayed a heavy touch and missed a penalty. PSG, though, maintains full confidence in their star player.
Mbappé did not oppose Neymar exit
When Mbappé's contract was renewed, one of the promises PSG made was to grant him more power in the decision-making process, in addition to giving him an ambitious platform to win the Champions League. The striker was asked for his opinion on the exit of Neymar, who had been put on the transfer list in the summer. According to L’Équipe, while Mbappé never explicitly requested the Brazilian’s departure, neither did he oppose it: clear evidence that the relationship between the two is somewhat strained.
PSG apparently granting Mbappé full powers has had an adverse effect on his teammates, according to L’Equipe. Neymar and Messi are old friends from their days together at Barça and not overly keen on the task of playing in the service of the Frenchman. In the first two games of the season in Mbappé's absence, the understanding between the two was on full display, a radically different scene from what unfolded Montpellier.
Neymar surprised by powers granted to Mbappé
Neymar’s reaction to Mbappé's elevation goes deeper than that of Messi. The Brazilian’s entourage did not want to give details to L’Équipe, but expressed surprise at the carte blanche PSG has granted Mbappé, while also adding that Neymar does not see himself acting an on-pitch squire to the French international.
Neymar has emerged as the team’s best player at the start of season, against forecasts given PSG were reportedly willing to sell him. The Brazilian responded by returning a week early from holiday, getting in peak shape quickly and displaying an irreproachable attitude. Now, tension has reappeared among a team accustomed to dealing with the egos of a compendium of stars who are seemingly only united in their goal of winning the Champions League.