Uncompromising Dutch ref Bjorn Kuipers, who was once branded “disrespectful” by Neymar after booking the Brazil playboy for arguing with him, has been backed by many fans after two PSG players accused him of swearing at them.
Experienced Kuipers has a reputation for letting matches flow and occasionally giving as good as he gets to players, and the 48-year-old was tested at times on Tuesday night as he oversaw Paris’s tame Champions League semifinal exit at Manchester City.
A multi-millionaire through his ownership of a supermarket chain in his homeland, Kuipers held his own with some of the most valuable and most notoriously dramatic players in the world – and two have now accused him of dropping the f-bomb on them.
I’ve always suspected Bjorn Kuipers was a legend but it’s nice to have that suspicion emphatically confirmed https://t.co/jC4DHcs85Z
Fellow midfielder Marco Verratti, who curiously claimed that PSG had the better of a game in which they were beaten 2-0 and did not manage a shot on target, offered even more extraordinary claims.
“He said ‘f*** you’ to me,” confided Verratti. “I talk to referees a lot but I never say that or I get a 10-game ban.”
Not like he’s the perfect referee and he makes the odd mistake too, but absolutely love the way Bjorn Kuipers *tries* to officiate games.Doesn’t buy into the moans and the flops and let’s players get stuck in. He allows the game to flow, which is so much better as a viewer. pic.twitter.com/SxGQcPjQM6
Angel di Maria was sent off in the second half, mirroring the first-leg fate of Idrissa Gueye, who was sent off for a horrendous tackle on Ilkay Gundogan that many felt had severely endangered the City playmaker.
“They lost their nerve and started to kick us,” two-goal hero Riyad Mahrez told BT Sport on Tuesday. “After the red card, it was more comfortable.”
Fans offered a mixed reception to the duo’s allegations, with many pointing out that players are routinely heard directing choice words at officials on the pitch at a time when largely empty stadiums mean that their voices can be picked up clearly.
“Honestly, this cements Bjorn Kuipers as the best ref in the world,” said one. “PSG players are masters in the dark arts and he wasn’t having any of it.”
Another admitted: “Not surprised. They were harassing him non-stop. Must have taken all of his will power not to smash one of them in the face.”
Kuipers booked Neymar for dissent during a 2018 World Cup group stage game between Brazil and Costa Rica in Russia, and did so again when the world’s most expensive player complained about his treatment by the opposition when Paris played Napoli last year.
“The referee told me something he should not have,” Neymar told ESPN afterwards. “It was disrespectful. I do not want to repeat what he said to me. However, somebody high up should do something.
“He cannot be as disrespectful as he was with me. On the pitch, we are asked to show respect towards the referees. We should get the same in return.”
A Neymar fan account was predictably scathing towards Kuipers after his latest set-to with their hero. “Bjorn Kuipers is still the worst and most unprofessional official that’s ever been in the sport,” they insisted, calling him a clown.
Few seemed to feel the same. “He doesn’t buy into the moans and the flops and lets players get stuck in,” said a supporter. “He allows the game to flow, which is so much better as a viewer.”
Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain failed to manage a shot on target as they went out of the Champions League with a 2-0 defeat at Man City – and fans know that will mean a summer of speculation that Neymar will return to Barcelona.
The Brazil striker’s pre-match bluster, which began immediately after last week’s 2-1 home defeat, came to nothing as last season’s finalists went out with a whimper at the City of Manchester Stadium, going out to two goals from Riyad Mahrez – a player born in France who rejected PSG as a youngster.
City had never reached the final before, and their inexperience was tested even less once Angel di Maria – formerly of City’s arch-rivals, Manchester United – was sent off shortly after Mahrez’s 63rd-minute second.
While City can look forward to the final in Istanbul at the end of the month and an imminent Premier League title, Paris must hope Lille, who are a point above them in the Ligue 1 table, slip up in the final three games of the season to give them a chance of being domestic champions again.
If PSG are out of the CL tonight. Get ready for Neymar to Barça saga for the entire summer.
“We believed until the red card,” Paris midfielder Marco Verratti somewhat fancifully claimed, despite the fact that his side needed to score three goals in little more than 20 minutes at that point against a team on a run of six successive Champions League wins.
“We created a lot of chances. We played a lot better than them but then we conceded a goal from the first chance they had, like in the first leg. But that’s how it is when you play big teams.”
In reality, the main manifestation PSG’s performance has created is inevitable rumors about the most expensive player in the world’s future, which many feel could be at Barcelona, where a potential partnership with Lionel Messi would surely be an enticing option for him.
“Now let the Neymar saga begin,” said one viewer, while another added: “Get ready for a Neymar-to-Barca saga for the entire summer.”
By the time he next plays in the latter stages of the Champions League, Neymar is likely to have gone more than two years since he scored against Borussia Dortmund in a 2-0 round of 16 victory in February last year.
He is 20 goals behind Kylian Mbappe and two behind on-loan Everton youngster Moise Kean among PSG’s top scorers this season, and his strike against Lens on Saturday was his first for the club in five league matches, dating back to the end of January because of a multitude of injuries and a suspension.
Just want Messi and Neymar to play together again 🙁
Neymar would almost certainly have to accept a substantial cut to his reported salary of around $ 42 million in order to return to financially-challenged Barcelona, who he left for the Parc des Princes in 2017.
Coach Mauricio Pochettino was also in the mood for generously appraising PSG’s performance while dismissing the suggestion that Mbappe’s absence through injury in Manchester had impeded them.
Mauricio Pochettino claims the “Champions League loves PSG” as they prepare for a third European blockbuster.
Former Tottenham boss Pochettino could never have imagined such a difficult path to glory when he took over at Paris Saint Germain in January.
PSG had to lay the ghosts against Barcelona in the last 16, served up a thriller over two legs against Bayern Munich and now face Manchester City.
It is a rematch of Pochettino v Pep Guardiola from the epic 2019 quarter final when Tottenham knocked out Manchester City at the Etihad after a night of incredible drama.
PSG boss Pochettino is now expecting another classic. “The Champions League loves us. Any time we are involved in Champions League games people are not indifferent. People want to watch,” said Pochettino.
“We grabbed the attention because both ties were fantastic and I think people enjoyed watching PSG-Barcelona and PSG-Bayern. They were two amazing ties and massive victories for the club.”
PSG were involved in one of the all time great European ties against Barcelona in 2017 when, having won the first leg 4-0, they collapsed and lost 6-1 to the Spanish giants in the return. It was called the La Remontada by the Spanish press. This time, they finished the job.
“Before we played Barcelona here all the talk was about La Remontada (The Comeback 2017) because of what happened in the past. It was a bit of a strange feeling,” said Pochettino.
“Only a few people inside the club and of course the players – the most important factor – were not a little bit nervous and paranoid about it. They were thinking ‘Oh 4-1, again, Barcelona, what is going to happen if they score first.’
“We were really calm and we reached the quarter finals and then we were drawn with Bayern Munich and it was, ‘Oh, it’s them again, the best team in the world.’ No-one believed in us but here we are in the semi-final.
“Now we have, for sure, a massive fight against Manchester City this week. It’s going to be tough because Manchester City is one of the best teams in the world with Pep Guardiola who is for me the best coach in the world.
“It is always a pleasure to play against him and Manchester City. They have unbelievable players and it’s going to be another fantastic tie.”
For all of PSG’s global stars, Pochettino does appreciate Phil Foden as an “amazing player, a very talented player, good character” and has clear admiration for Guardiola from their days as rival bosses in the Premier League.
Tottenham beat City 1-0 at White Hart Lane in 2019 when Guardiola’s men were chasing an unprecedented quadruple and then somehow squeezed through despite losing 4-3 in the second leg when Raheem Sterling had a last gasp winner ruled out by VAR.
“It was an amazing game. The atmosphere was unbelievable. You can’t believe it now when you watch it all the things that happened in the second leg of the tie,” said Pochettino who is expecting another classic when PSG face City.
“It’s going to be a very good game against Manchester City for sure. All the talented players involved should be amazing and of course the philosophy and mentality of both clubs is to attack and play good football.
“For me, it’s going to be the most exciting game. I love to challenge him. I love to challenge the teams he prepared. And both teams for sure are going to fight to win and it’s going to be an amazing tie.”
Pochettino has made quite the impression at PSG. They can still win the Treble in France, the race for the title is much closer than before and now, having reached the final last year, they want to take the final step and become European champions.
After being told constantly at Tottenham how much the club needed to win trophies, Pochettino is used to high expectations. “Of course the target in the last ten years has been to win the Champions League and the club is working really, really hard to try to be there and win,” he said.
“Of course that is the last step and that last step is always the most difficult even from when we were talking, if you remember at Tottenham, it was always about the last step being the most difficult thing.
“But now Paris Saint Germain is there. Now it is about winning, last year the club was in the final of the Champions League and now we are in the semi-finals and the club is doing a fantastic job.”
Brazil superstar Neymar is easy to manage, according to Mauricio Pochettino.
Paris Saint Germain boss Pochettino is in charge of two of the biggest stars in world football in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
But Pochettino said: “Yes, Ronaldinho was my teammate here in Paris and now Neymar. Brazilian players, they are always different. They have something special inside. They are very open, happy people, always smiling. They love to play football because it’s like a dance.
“They play like they are dancing. When I was in south America, in Argentina, I always loved to play against Brazilian teams and the Brazilian players. Because we were talking about the stress … they don’t feel the stress, they have freedom when they play.
“That is a characteristic of the country and the culture of the Brazilian players. They need to feel good and to feel happy to perform in the best way. But with Ronaldinho in the past, he was a really nice guy and now Neymar.
“From day one when we arrived, he was open to work. He’s very humble. He listens to you and he always accepts all the instructions in a very good way.
“Your colleagues in France, they ask me how is Neymar? If he’s easy or not to manage? I said it’s so easy for us because you don’t need to do too much. They are very natural. They understand very well every time you try to give some instruction or advice.
“Like Kylian Mbappe, maybe from outside you can feel and see that maybe biggest star player that has a massive influence on the football world but they are very humble and they love to work and they love football. That is the most important and it’s so easy to manage them.”
Mauricio Pochettino has endured an incredible roller coaster ride since taking charge in Paris in January.
Ex-Tottenham boss Pochettino contracted Covid himself, is still having to live alone in a hotel in Paris away from his family who are still in London and the whole of Paris is subject to a strict curfew.
But Pochettino has also spoken about the horror of having to substitute Angel Di Maria last month as news emerged during a game with Nantes that his house was robbed while his wife and children were there.
Pochettino said: “The family is first. There is nothing more important in a situation like this than to care and look after your family. That’s why we took the decision. I was inside with him during the game until he was able to connect back home with his wife.
“And, of course, football took second place. In the end we lost the game because it was a crazy moment. The players could feel from the side certain situations happening. We did exactly what we needed to do always to put family first.
“It was really difficult because no-one is prepared to live this type of situation. In this moment when we knew about that, the game ends. We don’t care about the game because we care about the family of a player that was playing and we needed the take a decision that was going to affect the team.
“And then because the players are so clever, they knew in the moment that something had happened outside.
“Because it was a really strange movement and that was a really difficult thing to deal with and for the club the same … the game is important, it’s our job, it’s our responsibility, win the games, yes. But the family is first.”
Mauricio Pochettino is finally ready to take a starring role in an Amazon documentary.
Paris Saint Germain boss Pochettino was only in Tottenham’s behind-the-scenes All Or Nothing show for 25 minutes as he was sacked just weeks into the 2019/20 season.
But Amazon are now making another movie with PSG and Pochettino is enjoying the chance to be in the series. “Yes we are doing Amazon,” said Pochettino.
“I know we weren’t in the Tottenham one for very long, but we were in the first episode for 25 minutes! And of course I was acting a little bit because the club asked to do something.
“But I am very spontaneous with the players, the relationship is very natural and I think that is the key, to have good relationships with everyone.
“Not only with the starting XI but with the whole squad because of course Neymar and Mbappe are important, but all of the players are important too. If you want to achieve big things everybody needs to feel they are important.”
Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar has announced that his latest venture is a starring role in all-conquering video game Fortnite, with fans reacting by questioning the Brazil playboy’s notorious fondness for play-acting.
Millons of gamers around the world who pay for a special pass can have the privilege of playing as Neymar in the Battle Royale sensation, taking on a series of challenges that includes a ‘Neymar Jr Cup’ with the world’s most expensive player reimagined in superhero style.
Barcelona defender Sergi Roberto and eSports favorite Temperrr were among the stars to add their approval after Neymar showed himself playing with his virtual likenss in the game, sitting in front of a computer to try out the character – known as a ‘skin’ – and smiling as he revealed the news to his Instagram following of more than 149 million.
“You’ll be able to run wild with me,” he declared, before arguments began between viewers who questioned the makers of the game because of alleged homophobic remarks directed by Neymar towards his mother’s former boyfriend which were never proven to have been made.
Others accused critics of looking for an excuse to “cancel” the creation of Neymar in the game. “Keep crying,” read one of the avalanche of memes produced in response to the news. “You can’t remove Neymar from Fortnite.”
Some of the reactions focused on the on-pitch theatricality which was again in evidence from Neymar at the weekend.
The former Ballon d’Or contender showed off his exceptional skill by nutmegging an opponent during PSG’s 3-1 Ligue 1 win at Metz, only to embarrass himself in the same instant by tumbling to the ground after what appeared to be the lightest of unintentional brushes from his rival’s arm.
“Neymar summed up in one video,” said one watcher. “Good skill, dive… tries to kick out.”
An avid gamer himself, Neymar has not been short of controversy on streaming platform Twitch, where he has more than 1.4 million followers and has a photo with his son, Davi, as his profile picture.
The 29-year-old was banned by bosses after sharing the phone number of Richarlison, who plays for Premier League side Everton and is one of his Brazil teammates, with thousands of viewers last November.
Richarlison was said to have received more than 10,000 messages within minutes after his contact details inadvertently flashed up when he called Neymar during the forward’s live session on the game ‘Counter Strike’.
Neymar summed up in one video. Good skill…dive….tries to kick out
Paris remain second in a remarkably tight race for the Ligue 1 title following the victory at Metz, which featured two goals from France hitman Kylian Mbappe to leave his side a point behind Lille and a point above Monaco with four matches of the domestic season remaining.
The reigning French champions are next in action on Wednesday, when they face Premier League title certs Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.
The world’s most expensive footballer, Brazil striker Neymar, has raised a laugh among fans after a screenshot of a match he was watching seemed to show a telltale racey ad from a shifty streaming site featuring a woman’s behind.
Paris Saint-Germain playboy Neymar, who is thought to earn around $ 825,000 a week, appeared to be watching a match from his homeland in a shot posted on Instagram, where he has more than 148 million followers.
The picture featured an intrusive advert insisting that a woman who appeared to be lying face-down on a bed in a skimpy outfit was offering her services less than a mile away – the kind of trashy advert synonymous with illegal sports streaming sites.
“Millionaires are millionaires for not spending their millions,” said one supporter, while another added: “That’s how you stay a multi-millionaire.”
Dude is a multi millionaire and still uses illegal streams 😂😂
— Jayjay (@JavidMuradi) April 10, 2021
PSG president Nasser bin Ghanim Al-Khelaifi is also the chairman of the beIN Media Group, which has been at the center of efforts to stop unauthorized streamers from showing matches that it holds the rights to broadcast.
When the broadcaster renewed its rights deal with the English Premier League for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region through to 2025 last December, the group said the move was encouraged by the steps the league had taken to combat piracy.
“This deal demonstrates that rights holders who do the most to protect their intellectual property also do the most to protect the value of their media rights,” Al-Khelaifi said at the time.
Thats how you stay a multi millionaire 😂😂😂
— S H R U G Z (@Shrugzyy) April 10, 2021
Millionaires are millionaires for not spending their millions
— offzera (@BeatzbyOff) April 11, 2021
Neymar was not involved in his side’s 4-1 win at Strasbourg on Saturday because of a suspension he was forced to serve after being petulantly sent off in their previous match, when they lost at home to Ligue 1 leaders Lille.
The 29-year-old played a starring role in their sensational 3-2 win at holders Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, including setting up the opening goals for Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe inside half an hour.
He continues to be linked with a return to Barcelona, who sold him to the French giants for a record-breaking fee of around $ 265 million in 2017. Also on rt.comDisaster for Neymar: Riled Brazil star sent off on his first start in months as Paris Saint-Germain flop in top-of-the-table clash
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar came to the fore when PSG needed them most, in a thrilling 3-2 away win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg.
Notching a pair of goals and assists each, the Frenchman and the Brazilian stole the headlines in a repeat of last year’s final.
That was famously won 1-0 by Bayern, but the Parisians exacted revenge in a snowy Allianz Arena on Wednesday night by bagging three vital away strikes to take into next week’s decider.
Popping up in under three minutes, Mbappe laid into the Bundesliga giants when brilliantly set free by a sideways through-ball from Neymar on the edge of the box.
Then, approaching the half hour mark, ‘Ney’ produced another moment of genius with his weaker foot.
As a PSG move broke down and Bayern pushed out of their area, most players would have took the safe route and passed back to ‘keeper Keylor Navas to regroup.
Spotting his compatriot Marquinhos in a goalscoring position, however, the world’s most expensive footballer swung a pinpoint pass to the center back’s feet for him to slot past Manuel Neuer and make it 2-0.
For complimenting his genius, former Bayern stalwart Bastian Schweinsteiger received a torrent of abuse.
99 of 100 Players would have passed back to the goalie @neymarjr. One of the best assists, I have seen for a long time !!!! With the weaker one of his two feet…. #FCBPSG
— Bastian Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) April 7, 2021
“Are you with us or with them wtf?” the 2014 World Cup winner was asked.
“Basti you’re a Bayern legend.. f*cking act like one,” demanded another angry punter.
Meanwhile, Neymar had sneaked into the record books with his feat.
Since debuting in the competition for Barcelona in 2013/2014, following a move from boyhood club Santos, he now has 25 assists to his name which is the most of any other player in this time.
25 – Since making his competition debut in the 2013-14 campaign, Neymar has assisted 25 goals in the UEFA Champions League, the most of any player in this time. Source. pic.twitter.com/UXmqKB8vKr
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 7, 2021
Replies from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Muller either side of the half-time whistle leveled it 2-2, and led to fans signing the praises of one of the best games they had seen in the UCL in years.
But Mbappe fancied joining Neymar by becoming PSG’s all-time top scorer in the knockout phases and surpassing Thierry Henry’s tally of 12 at the tender age of 22.
Ironically with 22 minutes to spare, he shimmied on the edge of the 18-yarder and ripped off a shot into the bottom corner “so disguised it should have worn a mask”, as one punter described it.
Considering his hat trick in the Camp Nou, Mbappe also become the first man in history to net five away goals across the last 16 and quarterfinals.
This is exactly why the QSI paid a near-combined $ 500 million for the pair in 2017.
And for all the criticism of the French top flight being a ‘Farmer’s League’, Mauricio Pochettino’s men can turn up the heat on big continental nights like this whenever they are on form.
Top priority in the summer needs to be tying Neymar and Mbappe to new contracts, and prevent them strolling to La Liga’s two biggest outfits on frees in 2022.
Working in tandem to this extent, their hand at the negotiating table could be strengthened by having finally delivered the elusive big-eared trophy to the French capital. Also on rt.comMbappe’s brilliance shows Messi may need PSG more than they need him
Brazil playboy Neymar was sent off after an embarrassing spat in the final minutes of his first league start for Paris Saint-Germain in almost three months, shoving an opponent as the French giants lost a crucial home match.
Starting the afternoon level on points with visitors Lille in Ligue 1, reigning champions PSG were boosted by the return of their star striker from the opening whistle for the first time since the end of January.
Their prospects swiftly took an unpromising turn as Canada youngster Jonathan David gave their title rivals a 20th-minute lead, sending Mauricio Pochettino’s side on their way to an eighth defeat of the season.
On a frustrating afternoon, Neymar was booked over an altercation at the start of the second half and missed several inviting chances, sending a free-kick over the target and seeing a fierce shot saved by goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
Neymar has now been sent off three times in Ligue 1 since the start of 2020, more than any other player in the competition. pic.twitter.com/nqXWeO3avP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 3, 2021
The notoriously petulant forward saved the worst until last. Entering additional time, Neymar appeared to fall over while chasing possession near the corner flag in Lille territory, then rushed to grab the ball after being awarded a free-kick.
As Lille’s Tiago Djalo held on to the ball in a routine attempt to run down precious seconds, Neymar lost his cool and shoved the defender, who fell theatrically to the floor clutching his face before the referee initially awarded a red card only to Neymar.
In the ensuing melee, Djalo was also dismissed as players from both sides surrounded the referee, with Neymar encouraging his opponent to leave the pitch by clasping him around the back of his neck.
LOSC were the better side on the day, there can be no complaints there. Without Navas, PSG would have been dead & buried long before the final whistle. #PSGLOSC
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) April 3, 2021
Neymar vs. Lille:77% pass accuracy 75% dribbles completed 4 fouls committed 3 chances created 1 big chance missed 1 red cardA day to forget for the PSG man. 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/3Ca59jxlqQ
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 3, 2021
Paris had won 4-2 away at title contenders Lyon before the international break, but Neymar was unable to help them avoid a third straight home league defeat following a shock setback against relegation strugglers Nantes and a damaging loss to third-placed Monaco, who are just a point behind them.
Neymar has played three full matches for the club this calendar year, all of which were in January – and he has been on the pitch for only 25 minutes since then.
While PSG had 16 shots to Lille’s three, their wastefulness was encapsulated by the fact that Christophe Galtier’s men matched Paris’s accuracy by directing all three of their shots on target. Also on rt.comThe honeymoon is over: Tuchel’s Chelsea suffer embarrassing Stamford Bridge collapse against Premier League strugglers West Brom
Neymar had to be restrained in the tunnel after being sent off in the closing stages of Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-0 defeat at home to Lille on Saturday.
The result saw Lille move three points clear of PSG at the top of Ligue 1, with seven matches remaining in what has turned out to be one of European football’s most gripping title races.
Neymar was making his first start since the end of January after recovering from injury, but both he and Djalo were sent off late in the game after they collided with the ball on the touchline.
The Brazilian pushed Djalo to the ground as they came together, with their altercation resulting in players from both sides gathering in a melee.
The pair’s row then continued into the tunnel, and Neymar could be seen remonstrating with Djalo as they headed for their respective dressing rooms.
Neymar then tried to confront the Lille defender again, only for officials to separate the warring duo as the Brazilian was ushered towards the PSG dressing room after receiving his third red card in his last 14 Ligue 1 appearances.
Jonathan David’s deflected effort had given Lille the lead after just 20 minutes in Paris, with the visitors holding on to open up a gap at the top of the table.
Christoph Gaultier’s side had surrendered the initiative in the Ligue 1 title race after suffering back-to-back defeats just before the international break, but their win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side has now given them a great chance to secure a first Ligue 1 title since 2011.