Neymar may have been absent for Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 curtain-raiser, but the club’s fans nevertheless gave him a rough ride amid constant speculation over the Brazilian’s future.
Just two years after moving to the French capital from Barcelona in a world-record transfer, Neymar has been widely linked with an exit.
Barca have emerged as the favourites to capture his signature, with their interest prompting bitter exchanges of opinions between representatives of both clubs and Neymar and his inner circle.
Sources have toldGoalthat PSG would consider an offer from Barcelona that includes Philippe Coutinho, Nelson Semedo and a cash payment of around €50m (£47m/$57m).
The forward additionally provoked PSG’s wrath by failing to turn up on time for training following the injury that kept him out of the Copa America, although his father insisted he had been granted permission to delay his return.
In the midst of the dispute, it was no surprise to see Thomas Tuchel leave him out of PSG’s squad altogether for Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash at home to Nimes.
But if Tuchel thought Neymar’s absence might calm tensions over his transfer stand-off, the Parc des Princes faithful had other ideas.
Chants of “Son of a bitch” rang out in the stands, while there were also banners calling for the Brazilian to “Get out” of the club.
“I have no news on his future,” Tuchel said onFrench TV show Canal Football Club.
“He is with us. He was very decisive for us. If we lose Neymar, maybe I will not sleep. Because it would be hard to lose him and find another player who can do the same things for us. Maybe no news is good news.
“It’s hard not knowing. Because I want him at home. But we have to find solutions without him too.
“I’m trying to convince him to stay. But on the other hand, it’s a personal choice. It’s between him and the club.”