Thomas Tuchel dismissed the notion of the Ballon d’Or being a distraction for a Paris Saint-Germain side that is set to be without Neymar this weekend.
Brazil star Neymar will be rested for the Ligue 1 match against Amiens following a taxing international window spent representing his country in Saudi Arabia.
Reports in Spain this week have linked the 26-year-old with a return to Barcelona, but Tuchel was in no mood to indulge the speculation beyond insisting it was not necessary to hold talks with the attacker.
The German was more forthcoming with his views on whether Ballon d’Or dreams warped his team’s motivations.
PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is the latest big name to have endorsed Kylian Mbappe’s claims for an award that Neymar has long coveted, his departure from Barca in 2017 said to have been partly fuelled by a desire to end Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s duopoly.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) October 17, 2018
Tuchel denied suggestions the intense debate over which player merits the accolade had a negative impact on his team’s morale.
“For me there’s no problem because it’s an individual prize and I coach a team,” he said.
“When both Neymar and Mbappe play exceptionally against Lyon we talk about it as if it’s a problem for Edinson [Cavani]. If Edi plays an exceptional match, we’ll say it’s a problem for the other two.
“It’s always like that, but it’s not a problem. All players want to win the Ballon d’Or and for that they have to be at a top level all year round. That means playing with the team.
“We have some of the best players in Europe, players that can win the Ballon d’Or every year, that’s the way it is.”
Defenders Marquinhos and Thomas Meunier will join Neymar in sitting out Saturday’s fixture at Parc des Princes, while Alphonse Areola has been given the nod to start ahead of Buffon.
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