Neymar left out of Paris Saint-Germain opener

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar during training. (Reuters)
Updated 10 August 2019

Neymar left out of Paris Saint-Germain opener

  • Real Madrid or a return to Barcelona are the most likely destinations for the world’s most expensive footballer

SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE: Paris Saint-Germain revealed on Saturday that Neymar transfer talks are "more advanced than before" after the Brazilian was dropped for the French champions' opening Ligue 1 match.

Sporting director Leonardo confirmed to reporters that the Brazilian was near the exit door but that PSG were "not yet ready to give their approval (to the transfer)" ahead of Sunday's match at the Parc des Princes.

Real Madrid or a return to Barcelona are the most likely destinations for the world's most expensive footballer, with Spanish media on Friday saying that Zinedine Zidane's side will battle Barca for the 27-year-old's signature.

Sports newspaper AS claimed Neymar has been offered to Madrid by PSG, who are open to selling if they can either recoup the €222 million ($249 million) they spent on him in 2017 or receive half that amount with players included in the deal.

Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo says that he would prefer a move back to Catalonia to play alongside former teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Neymar started the new season by angering the club when he turned up one week late for training.

The player’s camp maintained he had a prior agreement to stay away but that didn't wash with his employers who threatened to take “appropriate action.”

Off the pitch, Neymar was informed by a Brazilian judge on Friday that the rape case which has been hanging over the footballer for months had been dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Neymar had vehemently denied allegations he raped a Brazilian woman in a Paris hotel in May.

The forward, whose time in France has been marked by injuries and controversies, has made a series of remarks that strained his relationship further with the club and sparked outrage on social media.

Asked by an online sports channel about his best memory in football, he cited Barcelona's incredible 2017 Champions League victory over PSG when he was part of the team that overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit by winning 6-1 in the second leg of their last-16 tie.


Real Madrid and Barcelona part of La Liga quartet to play in Saudi Arabia in 2020

Updated 12 min 51 sec ago

Real Madrid and Barcelona part of La Liga quartet to play in Saudi Arabia in 2020

  • The Kingdom has previously hosted the Italian Super Cup final
  • Tournament was part of the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to host major global sporting events

RIYADH: La Liga giants Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia will play in a new four-way Spanish Super Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia next year.

A tweet on Monday from Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, confirmed the participation of the teams in a “Super Spanish” tournament, slated to take place between Jan. 8-12. The Spanish Football Federation gave Saudi Arabia a three-year deal on Monday.

The prince said the tournament was part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to host major global sporting events.

The Spanish Super Cup was previously a one-off match between the Liga and Copa del Rey champions at the start of the season. But the federation has changed it to semifinals and final featuring four teams — the top teams in each competition — in the middle of the season.

Real Madrid will face Copa del Rey holder Valencia in the first semifinal on Jan. 8 at King Abdullah Sports City stadium outside Jeddah, then Liga champion Barcelona plays Atletico Madrid in the second semi the next day at the same venue.

The final will be on Jan. 12. Barcelona won last year's Super Cup in Morocco.

The Kingdom previously hosted the Italian Super Cup final in 2018 and will do so again in December this year. 

Saudi Arabia also hosted the "Super Clasico" clash between Brazil and Argentina in 2018, with Miranda scoring a late winning goal at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah.