Football

Neymar tells assistant referee why he punched Alvaro Gonzalez during PSG defeat


Neymar told the fourth official during PSG’s defeat to Marseille that he had punched Alvaro Gonzalez because he had been subjected to a racist remark.

The Brazilian superstar was one of five players sent off after a brawl erupted in the dying moments of Marseille’s 1-0 win over Paris-Saint Germain on Sunday.

Replays showed Neymar appearing to aim a punch at Gonzalez during the ruckus, and he was dismissed along with teammates Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes, and Marseille pair Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto.

Even before that the match the match was also fractious, with 12 yellow cards having been shown prior to the melee.

And tensions had risen after PSG’s Angel di Maria – who has recently recovered from Covid-19 – appeared to be falsely accused of spitting at Alvaro Gonzalez.

Neymar was seen telling the assistant referee he had been subjected to a racist remark

VAR judged Di Maria to be innocent – but TV replays were not so kind to his teammate Neymar.

As the Brazilian marched off the pitch having been shown red by Jerome Brisard, he complained to the fourth official and the TV cameras that he had heard a racist comment.

The 28-year-old former Barcelona star later took to Twitter to vent his fury.

Neymar’s tweet, posted in his native Portuguese, translated as “The only regret I have is for not being in the face of this asshole” – which has been widely interpreted to mean he regrets not punching him in the face.

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Neymar squaring up to Marseille’s Alvaro Gonzalez

He later tweeted that he had been called a “monkey motherf**ker”.

It is not clear at this stage who is alleged to have made a remark.

PSG’s defeat meant they have lost their first two games in defence of their Ligue 1 title, having been beaten 1-0 by Lens on Thursday.

Neymar argues with referee Jerome Brisard after being shown red

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The consecutive reverses meant they have failed to score in either of their opening games for the first time since the 1978/79 season.

After the match, Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas denounced racism, although he insisted he was unaware of any abusive remark and said he hoped it didn’t overshadow his side’s achievement in winning ‘Le Classique’.

Asked whether there had been a racist comment, the former Chelsea boss told Telefoot : “I don’t know. I hope not, there is no place for racism in football.

“It’s a serious fault if it happened but I don’t think so. Before that, we had a situation with a spit from Di Maria.

“These are things to avoid in the world of football. I hope it won’t be a black spot in this historic performance.”

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