Julian Draxler is bemused by the way Neymar’s disagreements with Paris Saint-Germain team-mates are exaggerated, insisting his own clash with the Brazilian was “nothing wild”.
It was reported by Le Parisien in May that Draxler had been involved in an altercation with Neymar, who also allegedly picked fault with Alphonse Areola and Presnel Kimpembe.
PSG decried the claims at the time, accusing the newspaper of “presenting Neymar, a phenomenon of world football, as a player who fights with his team-mates in the dressing room”.
However, Draxler has confirmed there was a confrontation between himself and the world’s most expensive player, even if it was not as dramatic as suggested.
“I had a disagreement with him the way it always happens,” he told Kicker. “Only when it happens with Neymar, it’s mostly in the press.
“If you disagree with something, you have to say that, no matter who it is. It was about something during the game. He was angry, I was angry, there were words and then it was over quickly.
“It was nothing wild actually, but it showed that we were mentally quite battered.”
Drax: “This is the dirty work you do for winning the Championship in France.”
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) June 8, 2019
Draxler added it has taken time for him to adapt to a more withdrawn role, where his job is to “feed the egos” of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel di Maria.
“It was quite difficult at the start because, at first, Thomas [Tuchel] probably did not know where to put me,” he said.
“Then I’ve often been in the eight or between the six and eight, because up front we have Di Maria, Cavani, Mbappe and Neymar. My job was to show the coach that I can do very well, which he has confirmed to me.
“At PSG, you have the quartet waiting to be fed, all with big egos, where everyone wants to be the top scorer in the team, possibly in the league and maybe also throughout Europe.
“Build the game and think more defensively – that was my job this season, so I found my role, scored five goals in 48 games [for club and country] and made 12 assists. It is a much more defensive position than before.”
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