Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Neymar’s spat with Cavani – does this spell trouble for PSG?

Michelle Bonsu in Editorial, Ligue 1 22 Sep 2017

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PSG spent big this summer in a quest not just to re-claim the Ligue 1 title, but to conquer Europe. Since being taken over by their cash-rich owners, Les Parisiens have made no secret of their hopes at joining Europe’s elite. Of course, they have found this much easier said than done.

PSG may have only been founded in 1970, but despite being the “new kids on the block” compared to the likes of more established institutions like Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Manchester United, the ambitious capital club certainly have not suffered from stage fright since making their debut. Impressively, they been quite strong in their appearances in recent Champions Leagues, despite their humiliating exit at the hands of Barcelona in the most recent edition.

However, having seen the Ligue 1 title, which had become a formality in recent seasons elude them obviously spurred the club’s owners to spend big this summer. And spend big they did. By signing Neymar, they didn’t just break the world-transfer record, they smashed it. And obviously, there are 222 million reasons why they will want to keep their new acquisition happy in Paris.

Hence, why the latest “spat” that had everyone buzzing is a major source of concern. At the present, at least publicly, both Neymar and Edinson Cavani appear to have settled their differences. This all stemmed from conflict during Les Parisiens’ 2-0 win over Lyon, with the first flashpoint taking place when PSG were awarded a free-kick. In a scene that was more akin to what one would expect of a bunch of six year old boys than professionals, Dani Alves – ever the mischief-maker – decided to get involved and snatched up the ball.

But rather than taking it himself, he opted to hand it to his fellow Brazilian, who was unable to convert the effort. Later on, Neymar attempted to take a penalty and was rebuffed by his Uruguayan colleague, and according to reports, the two continued their scuffle off the pitch and had to be separated by colleagues.

Pettiness all around. Unai Emery refused to be really drawn into the whole mess, but Alves and retired Uruguayan international Diego Forlan certainly didn’t mind sharing their opinions, with the ever outspoken Mario Balotelli even chiming in (with his unsolicited opinion, of course). That being said, is this something that PSG should be concerned about?

Whilst PSG paid about €60 million to sign Cavani in 2013 from Napoli – a relatively “paltry” sum if one compares the amounts being thrown about these days – and especially for a forward, there’s no doubting he has been a pretty strong acquisition for the capital-based club. Yes, he’s had his share of frustrating moments and periods of profligacy, but since the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has been finally able to assert himself in the absence of the big Swede’s shadow.

In adding Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG’s aim was not to build a formidable striking duo – they wanted to create a triple threat, and that includes Cavani, with the Brazilian star and the French rising talent flanking him on either side. Things seemed to be quite promising before the Lyon squabble. All three had netted during a rout of Metz and replicated this feat in the Champions League as PSG strolled to a very comfortable win over Celtic, but everyone was waiting to see this formidable attack truly tested against the likes of Bayern or Juventus in the Champions League or get revenge on Monaco on Ligue 1.

So whilst there seems to be an uneasy truce between two thirds of PSG’s dream team, it goes without saying that fans will be hoping that it’s just a mere flash-point and not the calm before a rather unpleasant storm that could be brewing on the horizon.



Michelle Bonsu

A freelance writer and student who is as passionate about fashion as she is about football, Michelle Bonsu currently contributes to several publications and websites including,, Football-Italia, Top-Soccer,, and Soccer 360 magazine. Her areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, and Ligue 1, but she has also written match previews for MLS and the Primeira Liga.



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