Neymar fit to face Bayern, penalty row resurfaces

Reuters
Neymar and Cavani are likely to start alongside Kylian Mbappe in a 4-3-3 formation and Emery said he had discussed the penalty situation with the players.
Reuters
Reuters

Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery speaks during a press conference at the Parc des Princes in Paris on September 26, 2017, on the eve of the team's UEFA Champions League Group B clash with Bayern Munich.

Neymar has been included in Paris Saint-Germain's squad for Wednesday's UEFA Champions League game against Bayern Munich after recovering from a foot injury, coach Unai Emery said on Tuesday.

The Brazilian's return fueled speculation over whether the Brazil forward or Edinson Cavani would take a penalty if the French club is awarded one during the Group B game at the Parc des Princes.

The two players argued in the 2-0 win over Olympique Lyonnais nine days ago when Neymar tried to take a penalty instead of Uruguayan Cavani, who eventually had his spot-kick parried away by the goalkeeper.

"Neymar is in the squad to play the game tomorrow," Emery told a news conference.

Neymar, the world's most expensive footballer, missed PSG's 0-0 draw at Montpellier on Saturday as the team dropped its first points of the season in Ligue 1.

Argentina winger Angel Di Maria also returns to the PSG squad after nearly three weeks out injured.

Neymar and Cavani are likely to start alongside Kylian Mbappe in a 4-3-3 formation and Emery said he had discussed the penalty situation with the players.

"I spoke with each of them and they know how things will happen," said the Spanish coach, who believes it reflects well on his team that Europe's traditional powerhouses now see the French club as an "enemy" after its unprecedented close-season spending spree.

PSG spent a world-record 222 million euros (US$264 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona and also welcomed Mbappe from Monaco on an initial loan deal that is set to become a permanent move for 180 million euros next year.

After failing to make it past the quarterfinals of the UCL in the last five years — and following its humiliating loss to Barcelona last season — those deals were the clearest signs yet of the determination of PSG's Qatari owners to win the European Cup and the team has upset its rivals in the process.

Best players

"When I was in Spain, I watched the big clubs — Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, the Manchester clubs, Juventus — and I saw that every year they would buy the best players in the world," said Emery.

"The team here has taken big steps towards competing with the best sides. Today, in sporting terms, we have more enemies.

"They see that we are a serious team with the players we have bought in the past and also this year, and now we can also be among the candidates to win the Champions League.

"That is why for other teams we are now the sporting enemies and people talk more about us. Lots of things are said, some true, some not. But I think it's good that people are talking a lot about PSG because PSG are among the top clubs in Europe."

The president of Spain's La Liga, Javier Tebas, recently accused PSG of "laughing" at UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules with its signings of Neymar and Mbappe, who had also been a target for Real.

Wednesday's opponent Bayern has been also been a critic of the French side.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness told German magazine Kicker this week that spending 100 million euros on a player would be "unacceptable" for his club.

Meanwhile, Bayern winger Arjen Robben mocked PSG before the German side's departure for Paris on Tuesday, reminding it that "money doesn't score goals".

PSG and Bayern are level on three points each in Group B ahead of Wednesday's game, having both won on the opening matchday.


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