Being a global superstar like Neymar means you are never far from the headlines and Paris Saint-Germain’s audacious move for the Brazil star has thrust him even more into the limelight.
It was a training-ground bust-up with new Barcelona team-mate Nelson Semedo that set the internet and social media abuzz on Friday, though, and has only exacerbated rumours that the silky forward is France bound.
But, in fairness, Neymar is not the first player to engage in a scuffle with a team-mate and below we assess six other instances of skirmishes on the training ground.
Robinho & Thomas Gravesen
Remember when Gravesen played for Real Madrid? That was bizarre…but Robinho felt the full force of the great Dane during a pre-season training camp in Austria leading to an exchange between the team-mates. Head coach Fabio Capello wisely said “I don’t mess with him”, but Gravesen was soon shunted out the exit door to Celtic.
Mario Balotelli & Roberto Mancini
Ah, Mario. This list just would not be complete without you! Balotelli was always in the limelight during his eccentric two-and-a-half seasons at Manchester City that yielded 20 Premier League goals and a battle with a pesky bib. One such incident saw him lock horns with manager Mancini, who took issue with a Balotelli tackle on Gael Clichy and, in his own words, “grabbed him by the collar wanting to push him but he is so strong physically I couldn’t move him”.
Joey Barton & Ousmane Dabo
The shy and retiring Barton was a shoo-in to make the cut. Never one to back down from a scuffle, Barton’s row with then Manchester City team-mate Dabo is arguably the most infamous. The no-nonsense former England midfielder knocked Dabo unconscious and later received a four-month suspended jail sentence, having already joined Newcastle United. At least things calmed down from there …
Freddie Ljungberg & Olof Mellberg
Perhaps Ljungberg and Mellberg heeded the message to show a fighting spirit a little too literally at the 2002 World Cup. Ljungberg had taken exception to Mellberg cutting him down mid-stride as so many Premier League defenders attempted to do. The pair were pulled apart by Daniel Andersson, made up, and helped Sweden to a 1-1 draw with England just a few days later.
Patrice Evra & Robert Duverne
France’s 2010 World Cup was ruined by in-fighting and flare-ups between players and staff. So, it was perhaps little surprise when captain Evra went toe-to-toe with fitness coach Duverne. Raymond Domenech’s earlier expulsion of Nicolas Anelka from the touring party made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Domenech subdued the spat but the damage was done – France were dumped out at the group stage following a humiliating defeat to hosts South Africa.
John Hartson & Eyal Berkovic
This one is definitely among the more unsavoury incidents on the training grounds. Berkovic reacted to a challenge during a West Ham session and Hartson responded with a sickening kick to the Israeli’s head. Hartson later said: “Eyal Berkovic was a good lad and to this day I don’t know why I reacted the way I did.” The two narrowly avoided crossing paths at Celtic but did patch things up post-retirement.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!