Neymar faces 7-match ban for red card

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar faces a suspension of up to seven games following his dismissal during Sunday’s defeat to Olympique Marseille in Le Classique.

The 28-year-old was one of five players sent off in stoppage time as a scuffle broke out between the two rivals.

Dario Benedetto shoved Leandro Paredes to the ground in stoppage time to start the brawl. The game had been boiling over for several minutes prior.

Both Benedetto and Parades were shown their marching orders, as were full-backs Layvin Kurzawa and Jordan Amavi for exchanging kicks.

Referee Jerome Brisard then consulted the VAR to be shown replays of Neymar slapping Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez in the back of his head. The Brazilian superstar was subsequently shown a red card.

The LFP Disciplinary Committee rules, an act of aggression off-the-ball could warrant a suspension of up to seven games. Should the red card is deemed an attempted assault, Neymar can be suspended for up to six games.

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Neymar cites racism for red card in defeat

Paris Saint-Germain were handed their second defeat to start the 2020-21 French Ligue 1 season as they went down 0-1 against rivals Olympique Marseille in La Classique at the Parc des Princes on Sunday night.

Florian Thauvin scored the game’s only goal on half hour by volleying Dimitri Payet’s delivery from a free kick, but all the talking points came deep in stoppage time as five players were shown their marching orders.

The match had been at boiling point before Marseille’s Dario Benedetto shoved Leandro Paredes off the ball. The Argentinian retaliated and a brawl ensued.

Layvin Kurzawa and Jordan Amavi exchanged kicks and both were shown red cards. Benedetto and Paredes were next to be dismissed for their involvement before referee Jerome Brisard consulted the VAR screen.

Replays showed Neymar slapping the back of the head of Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez and was duly asked to leave the field of play in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

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2 defenders who could join PSG this summer

Paris Saint-Germain allowed four first team players to leave on free transfers at the end of the 2019-20 campaign as they look to rebuild in their bid for European success.

The French Ligue 1 champions reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history last month only to be beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar disappointed in the final third, whilst Thilo Kehrer was exposed at right-back, which saw Kingsley Coman getting the better of the right-back to score the game’s only goal.

Kehrer himself may not have started the final but for Thomas Meunier’s departure to Borussia Dortmund at the end of his contract on 1 July 2020. Edinson Cavani also missed the final after his contract expired at the same time.

However, club captain Thiago Silva remained with the French champions until after the final before joining English Premier League giants Chelsea on a free transfer.

PSG’s only signing so far this summer has been Mauro Icardi from Internazionale, with the Argentine having already spent last season on loan from the Serie A side. Icardi will be the long-term replacement for Cavani after the Uruguayan’s seven seasons at the Parc des Princes.

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Coman rules out PSG return whilst one player is there

Kingsley Coman has ruled out a return to Paris Saint-Germain for the time being.

The 24-year-old has just completed his fifth season with Bayern Munich, culminating with the winger scoring the only goal in the Champions League final… versus PSG.

Coman came through the youth ranks at the French Ligue 1 champions, making just three league appearances before he left on a free transfer to join Juventus at the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

The 22-time French international stayed for just one season in Turn before spending two on loan at the Bavarians where he joined on a permanent basis in 2017.

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PSG’s front three fail to influence final

Kingsley Coman haunted his former side as the Bayern Munich forward scored the only goal of the game to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League final on Sunday.

The 24-year-old was a product of the Parisians’ youth system, making three league appearances before joining Juventus on a free transfer in 2014.

Coman headed home Joshua Kimmich’s cross from close range on the hour following a nice move by the German champions. The French international had terrorised Thilo Kehrer all evening. The German right-back was arguably started because of the disruption, allowing Thomas Meunier to leave to Borussia Dortmund on 1 July.

There wasn’t much between the two teams at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon and but for Manuel Neuer putting in another superb performance between the posts, on another day, PSG may have lifted the trophy.

However, Thomas Tuchel’s side came up short. Particularly the front three. Kylian Mbappe had a couple of shots blocked and Neymar had a good effort well saved by the German number one in the first half.

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3 players who could join PSG this summer

Paris Saint-Germain are two matches away from winning the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.

The French Ligue 1 champions will face RB Leipzig in a single-legged semi-final tonight with the winner set to face either Bayern Munich or Lyon in the final at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on Sunday.

This is only the second time the club have ever reached the final four, since their run in the 1994-95 campaign, which ended in a 3-0 aggregate defeat to eventual winners AC Milan.

With transfer spend in excess of €1 billion over the past nine years, the Champions League trophy has been the one they’ve always let slip away.

Should Thomas Tuchel’s side not win the prized trophy this season, then a few new players may join the ranks at the Parc des Princes in order to strengthen the squad for next season.

PSG have already seen Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier leave on a free transfer this summer, whilst Thiago Silva and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will depart after the Champions League campaign is over.

The only signing the French giants have made so far this summer has been making the deal for Mauro Icardi permanent having spent this season on loan from Internazionale. But don’t be surprised if they dip into the transfer kitty a few more times before the window closes in October.

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Could a French team win the Champions League?

Marseille’s tainted Champions League win of 1992-93 is the only time in the competition’s history that a French team has got its hands on the trophy.

The following season AS Monaco reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual winners AC Milan, and the following season Paris Saint-Germain followed the same fate to the Italian giants at the same stage.

That was PSG’s one and only Champions League final four appearance prior to Wednesday’s dramatic 2-1 victory against Atalanta.

In 1995-96 won the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup; the only European title in their trophy cabinet. That same season, Nantes also reached the final four of the Champions League, losing 4-3 on aggregate to Juventus, who beat Ajax on penalties in the final.

In fact, since Marseille’s victory in 1993, the only Ligue 1 side to have even appeared in the final since was Monaco – that’s when they were hammered 3-0 by Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto in 2004.

France have produced six finalists in all – including the runners-up of the inaugural tournament in 1955-56: Stade de Reims. The same team appeared in the final three years later, with the same result: losing to Real Madrid.

Saint-Etienne were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich in 1976 and Marseille themselves lost on penalties to Red Star Belgrade two years before they got their hands on the trophy.

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Neymar must prove himself versus Atalanta

Expectations are on Paris Saint-Germain to at least reach the final of this season’s Champions League following the restart.

The French champions are set to take on Atalanta in their single-legged quarter-final on Wednesday, to setup a semi-final with either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig.

Diego Simeone’s side have not been their usual selves this season, though they did go unbeaten in La Liga following the restart, albeit only winning three of their 11 games by more than one goa.

As for RB Leipzig, they face an uphill task to get past the Spaniards in the quarter-finals, let alone PSG or Atalanta, solely because of the sale of Timo Werner to Chelsea following the end of the 2019-20 Bundesilga campaign.

The German hotshot had been responsible for 28 of their 81 league goals this past season and four of their 14 in the Champions League.

PSG’s first task though is to overcome an Atalanta side who themselves went their first 12 games unbeaten following the restart, winning nine, and finishing third to qualify for next season’s competition too.

The Italian side also kept four clean sheets during that run, a marked improvement to the first part of the season, also beating both Lazio and Napoli, and drawing 2-2 with champions Juventus, who relied on two penalties for their equalisers.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s are set to be without star midfielder Josip Ilicic due to depression though, but Paris Saint-Germain themselves don’t have a full bill of health.

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Will PSG progress past Atalanta?

The 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals take place this week, kicking off with Atalanta against Paris Saint-Germain at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on Wednesday.

With the remainder of the competition take place in a single-legged, World Cup-style format, the trophy is anyone’s from this stage. And the much-anticipated match between the French champions and entertaining Italians is between two teams who have never won the competition before.

Six of the remaining eight sides have never won the Champions League in its current format or its previous, the European Cup. The only two remaining teams that have, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, meet each other in the quarter-finals on Friday.

The winner of that tie will meet either Manchester City or Lyon in the semi-finals, whilst PSG could meet either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig in the semi-final if they get past Atalanta.

Thomas Tuchel’s side head into the match as the bookmakers’ favourites but many see an update on the cards in this one with the form of the Serie A side after the restart – winning nine of their 13 league games to finish third. They held champions Juventus to a 2-2 draw and recorded victories over Lazio and Napoli.

The Bergamo club reached the knockout stages of the Champions League despite picking up just one point from their first four group stage games, winning 3-0 away to Shakhtar Donetsk in their final game to leapfrog the Ukrainian Premier League side into second spot.

Atalanta then beat Valencia 8-4 in a thrilling Round of 16 tie before the disruption.

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Ronaldo wanted PSG move

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was unhappy in Italy and wanted a move to Paris Saint-Germain prior to the disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old is only in his second season in Turin following his €100 million move from Real Madrid but reports today have come out saying that the Portuguese superstar wanted a move to PSG this summer.

Ronaldo’s global brand alone would have been a huge attraction for the French champions, and partnering him with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in attack would have immediately put Thomas Tuchel’s side among the favourites to win the Champions League.

PSG could still accomplish that this season even without the five-time winner, as they are set to face Atalanta in the single-legged quarter-finals next week.

Despite their riches and domestic dominance over the past eight years, the Parisians are still to progress past the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite club cup competition this millennium. In fact, the only time they have accomplished this in their history was in 1994-95, when they were beaten 3-0 on aggregate by AC Milan in the semi-finals. Their sole European trophy to date came the following season when they beat Rapid Vienna in the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 31 goals in 33 Serie A appearances this past season, 12 of those coming from the penalty spot, as he helped Juventus win their ninth consecutive Scudetto. Maurizio Sarri’s side too remain in the Champions League, but they are looking to overturn a 0-1 deficit against Lyon in their Round of 16 second leg on Friday. However, Ronaldo has not tasted Coppa Italia success, with Juventus having previously won the domestic cup for each of the four seasons prior to his arrival.

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