Neymar allegedly punches Rennes fan in ultimate meltdown after Coupe de France defeat


The Coupe de France final was supposed to not only be a straight forward win for champions PSG, but was supposed to be ‘Neymar’s final’. The Brazilian had just come back from a lengthy injury lay off, this was supposed to be his redemption.

It had all started so well for PSG who took an early lead through a brilliant long distance strike from Neymar’s Brazilian team mate Dani Alves who was looking for his 43rd trophy in his career. He made it to 42 with the league win which has since been confirmed as making him the most decorated football player in history.

PSG then made it 2-0 with a delightful goal from Neymar, there was surely only going to be one winner here, and PSG was about to pick up its 5th cup final trophy in a row. But the football Gods had not had their say.

Quite incredibly Rennes pulled it back and started to believe. An own goal made it 2-1 and a quick fire header that no goalkeeper in the world was saving made it 2-2. The game went to penalties and Rennes triumphed as PSG wilted. The scenes were simply incredible. PSG look stunned, but Neymar even more so after missing a chunk of the season only to experience this episode.

But there was more to come. Some fans could be seen screaming towards Neymar- all inaudible and to be fair it seemed to be just banter. But as the PSG players passed the fans to collect their trophies it all kicked off.

Allegedly a Rennes fan joked and said to Neymar ‘you should learn how to play football’. Then allegedly Neymar struck out at the fan as seen in video footage. It is unclear if it was a punch, slap or push, although wide media are reporting the incident as a punch.

More details need to be gathered and the French Football Federation will be doing that over this week. But if the fan really did say just that then Neymar is set to be in a lot of trouble. Some are talking that he could be looking at a 5 game ban, some even say that under French football rules it could be 8 games.

All of this feel like a huge meltdown for a player that was banned for the first 3 games of next seasons Champions League after his criticism tweet of UEFA when PSG were controversially knocked out of the Champions League against Liverpool.

Sometimes football is unfair, but it seems that Neymar can’t take that and he has certainly over stepped the mark in the Coupe de France. Is this the beginning of the end of his career at PSG? It could well be.

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Dani Alves – The worlds most decorated player after PSG win Ligue 1


PSG won the league title in style by beating Monaco 3-1 after a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick gave the 20 year old Frenchman his 7th trophy of his career. But another story emerged as the dust settled down and the Champagne spilled at the Parc des Princes last Sunday night and that was the incredible fact that Dani Alves, PSG’s defender became the most successful player in the history of the game.

The Brazilian won his 42nd trophy which is now classified as an official record. One of those is a youth one but it is being counted. It has been an incredible haul of trophies for Alves who has won leagues in Brazil, Spain, Italy and France in a glittering career and has also won the Copa America for Brazil and 3 Champions Leagues with Barcelona. The World Cup is going to elude him, but if he stays with PSG he is likely to win even more trophies.

Indeed Alves could make it trophy no 43 as early as this weekend when PSG take on Rennes in the Coupe de France final, and if he is at the club next year, he could push that total to much more.

But what of two incredibly successful players- the players that have changed the game in the past decade, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo- and will they one day be able to take Alves crown?

Messi currently has 34 trophies overall. And by the end of the season that could be 36 if Barcelona win the league and the Copa del Rey. They are almost certain to win the league so 35 looks assured at least. Messi will be 32 when the season kicks off next and at the very top level looking at his fitness he might have another four seasons left, and perhaps he has a chance to break Alves record, but then again it depends which player will have the longest career.

As for Ronaldo he has won 28 trophies and while his fitness means he will carry on for  a few good more years yet it looks unlikely he will bother Alves incredible record.

Here is what Alves has won in a fantastic career- the question is can he get to 50 trophies?

Bahia (2001-02):

Campeonato Baiano – 2001

Copa do Nordeste – 2001, 2002

Sevilla (2002-08): 

Copa del Rey — 2006-07

Supercopa de Espana — 2007

UEFA Cup — 2005-06, 2006-07

UEFA Super Cup — 2006

Barcelona (2008-16):

La Liga — 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16

Copa del Rey — 2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16

Supercopa de Espana — 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

Champions League — 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15

UEFA Super Cup — 2009, 2011, 2015

FIFA Club World Cup — 2009, 2011, 2015

Juventus (2016-17):

Serie A — 2016-17

Coppa Italia — 2016-17

PSG (2017-present):

Trophee des Champions — 2017

Coupe de la Ligue — 2017-18

Coupe de France — 2017-18

Ligue 1 — 2017-18, 2018-19

Brazil (2006-present):

Copa America — 2007

Confederations Cup — 2009, 2013

FIFA World Youth Championship – 2003

Ligue 1 Player of the Week: Kylian Mbappe


Everything came together in Ligue 1 at the weekend as Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick on Sunday against his former team Monaco in Paris as PSG won the league title.

Mbappe’s 3 goals earned him more points than any other player in Ligue 1 Fantasy Football with 14. He is top of the rankings with an overall haul of 132 points and has a value of 10.5m. He is a cool 35 points in front of the next best player Nicolas Pepe who plays for Lille.

Mbappe is also the top goal scorer in Ligue 1 with 30 goals and one has to remind themselves that he is just 20 years old- oh and of course he has a World Cup already to his name. In a week where his team mate Dani Alves became the most decorated player in history with his 42nd trophy, one has to wonder if Mbappe will surpass this record. Alves is 15 years older than Mbappe and if we say that the French forward has at least another 15 years at the very top then he has plenty of time to catch him up, he currently has 7 trophies to his name.

The 20 year old has been not just the best player in Ligue 1 this week, or this season but the best player in world football in the past 12 months. One has to wonder if Ronaldo or Lionel Messi would have won world player of the year had they won a domestic treble and then the World Cup last season. Mbappe didn’t, FIFA seemed to back out of that decision based on his then age of 19. No matter it is only a question of time, perhaps this will be the year but then again PSG were knocked out of the Champions League at the round of 16 and that could affect that vote.

Mbappe has recovered well in recent weeks too- the player was dropped from he defeat at Nantes after he criticised the teams commitment on the back of drawing 2-2 with Strasbourg and then the horrific 5-1 defeat at the hands of Lille. Of course it was just a stay of execution PSG were always going to win the league, in the end it simply dragged on more than they would have liked.

He has proven to be the ultimate striker and his pace is electrifying. Against Monaco one of his runs clocked in at an a average of 38km p/h that is quicker than 100m world record holder Usain Bolt.

For his hat-trick Mbappe was set up twice by Alves and he even hit the post meaning he could have ended the night with more goals. And there is more.

In scoring 30 goals in a single season Mbappe became the first French player to reach that feat in Ligue 1 since the great Jean- Pierre Papin.

Mbappe by light years wins the Ligue 1 player of the week in reality he should be winning every other personal competition he is involved in too. An absolute star to treasure with an even greater future ahead of him.

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Thomas Meunièr: PSG’s marauding right-back


iThe footballing world is like a maze which keeps throwing new dimensions and nuances for all those who love the game with all their heart. Just when you believe that you finally know it all and have mastered the game, there is something which the game throws up at you leaving you in a state of daze and confusion.

How many of you are familiar with the fact that one of the greatest legends of the game- Ian Wright almost opted to give up on the game at one stage in favour of a regular profession? That’s certainly accurate although it seems unbelievable in nature. Wright almost decided to become a plasterer at one stage before his heart reigned supreme over the min gifting the footballing world an absolute genius.

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Is Adrien Rabiot the real thing?


960Hardly a couple of weeks have passed since the summer transfer window slammed shut with the world-record transfer of Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to Chelsea hailed as the pick of the signings. Surprisingly, the footballing world is abuzz with concrete news reports linking the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus with a possible move for a PSG-based player. However, what makes it all the more interesting is the fact that these reports do not involve high-profile players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Marco Verrati for once. The player being referred to is none other than French midfielder Adrien Rabiot who only has a year left on his existing club contract.

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Juventus sign Emre Can from Liverpool


Juventus’ pursuit of Emre Can, which has been going on basically since last Autumn, has finally come to an end as the midfielder has penned a four-year contract on Thursday, the club announced. There is reportedly a €50M release clause that works only for foreign teams and starts from the third season in there. The Bianconeri technically signed him on a free transfer since his deal with Liverpool had expired, but they stated they will incur in €16M additional costs, meaning the agents’ fee.

A product of Bayern Munich’s youth system, Can made a name for himself at Bayer Leverkusen, before transferring to the Reds in 2014. In his four seasons at Anfield, he collected 167 appearances and scored 14 times.

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World Cup 2018: Redemption on the menu for hopefuls Brazil


Following on from last week’s look at Germany’s approach to this summer’s World Cup, we will now be taking a look at one of the tournament’s other favourites – South American outfit Brazil.

The five-time world champions disappointed while hosting the previous tournament in 2014, crashing out to Germany in the semi-finals. The disappointment didn’t necessarily stem from them “only” reaching the semis of course – though most were expecting them to win – but that disappointment came largely from the manner of their exit. That was a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of eventual winners Germany, and for that to occur on Brazilian soil was almost unthinkable. Continue reading

Our XI for the Ligue 1 action ahead


Some tough Ligue 1 fixtures greet us this weekend, with fixtures that could influence both the battles for relegation and the Champions League spots.

With that in mind, we take a look at the players that are likely to shine across some of these big fixtures – with stars from PSG, Monaco and Nice filling a number of the berths.

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Ligue 1: Our XI to watch out for on Match Day 20

Ahead of match day 20, we look at the potential players that could play a key role for their sides as the first league fixtures kick-off following the window break. Continue reading

Barcelona’s Successful Era coming to an End

There is no doubt that what Barcelona has achieved over the last 12 years is nothing short of dominant. Considering Barca has had to contend with Real Madrid as a main rival for the many domestic and European trophies won, this makes the victories all the more significant.

Combining the trophies with a style of football which is considered both attractive and representative of how the game should be played, adds further impetus to the notion that the core of Barcelona’s squad, particularly the Starting XI between 2008 and 2011, can lay serious claim to being the best club side ever.

Yes Lionel Messi has been with Barcelona since 2004 and yes many claim he is Barca’s and the world’s best ever, but the Catalans were much more than just Messi. The likes of Carlos Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto’o and Dani Alves are some of the names who were part of this great Barca era.


Fast forward to the 2015-16 season and one cannot help but notice the weaknesses creeping into Barca’s squad despite winning the Spanish league title. The ominous signs were there but the cracks were papered by the presence of a lethal trio comprising Messi, Luis Suarez and the freshly minted PSG star Neymar.

The 2016-17 was perhaps Barca’s worst season in terms of performances as Italian champions Juventus dismantled Barcelona 3-0 in Turin in the 1st leg of the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The warning signs were clear in the previous round when PSG hammered Barca 4-0 only to lose 1-6 in Spain due to a mental collapse by the French team’s players accompanied with a few critical decisions which went Barca’s way.

Setting aside the Champions League failure, Barca could not retain the La Liga title despite boasting Messi, Suarez & Neymar, also referred to as MSN. The Copa del Rey triumph as a mere consolation in an otherwise disappointing season. Sunday’s home defeat to Real Madrid in the Supercopa de España further highlighted Barca’s weaknesses.

With Neymar gone, Barca’s even more dependent on Messi. If the Argentine wizard moves and creates, then Barca is can become dangerous. However, when Messi stops, the Catalian side looks rather mediocre and inept. This over reliance on Messi is countered by a very well-balanced Real Madrid starting XI where even Ronaldo’s absence can be overcome.


Last season, when Ronaldo was rested for a number of Real’s away games, the likes of Isco, Alvaro Morata and Marco Asensio stepped up to fill the void. Barca could not afford to rest Messi and, as mentioned above, when the Argentina skipper did not deliver, the Catalans looked rather toothless.

Barca’s problems extend beyond the dependence on Messi. Defensively, the side is in desperate need of help and the signing of at least one quality centre-back would be a much welcome relief. In attack, make no mistake but Neymar’s departure has left a void. Suarez was great during the 2015-16 season but his level dropped during the last campaign and he is not a great creator like Messi or even Neymar. A new forward would greatly help Barca and ease the work-load off of Messi’s shoulders.


However, Barca’s greatest problems are in the middle of the park where the club has failed to replace Xavi (since 2015) and more importantly the great Andres Iniesta has slowed down considerably. Iniesta has not played 30 league games in a single season since the 2013-14 campaign due to injury. To add insult to injury, Sergio Busquets has been in perpetual decline despite not yet turning 30 years old.

One major signing might not be enough as even with Neymar last season, Barca looked rather lethargic and short of ideas when Messi was having an off night. All great things come to an end and it’s clearly the end of a winning cycle so urgent changes must be made so as not to waste the remaining few years of Messi’s legendary career.

It is time for Barca’s management to spend big and sign both Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele. Otherwise, this season might be another wasted one, just like the 2015-16 campaign. Will Barca splash the money and sign a couple of star player? Mind you even signing both does not guarantee success with Real having a great squad, deep bench and exceptional quality in midfield.