Neymar needs to learn some respect

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

A lot has been said about the on-field spat between PSG stars Neymar and Edinson Cavani at the weekend.

It all happened when PSG, leading Lyon 1-0 at the time, won a penalty. Up stepped Cavani, the team’s regular penalty taker.

As he was placing the ball on the spot Neymar wandered over and asked if he could take the spot kick, only to be waved away by the Uruguayan, who then proceeded to miss.

But that was not the end of it. French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the duo had to separated by captain Thiago Silva after the spat continued in the dressing room at full time.

A bit of South American rivalry? Probably. Neymar’s ego getting the better of him? Most definitely.

Not their first fight.

Neymar then took the disagreement to another level, pulling off the most 21st-century show of disrespect possible – by unfollowing his teammate on Instagram.

To his credit Cavani has since tried to defuse the situation, telling a Uruguayan radio station that these things happen in football and “there’s no problem at all.”

But given Neymar’s reputation, can we be sure this is the end of it?

It’s been widely reported that Neymar left Barcelona in the summer because he was fed up of living in the shadow of Lionel Messi.

He arrived in Paris wanting to be top dog, but even now, at his new club he has suffered an embarrassing defeat in his first attempt to establish himself as the club’s ‘alpha male’.

It would therefore be no surprise if the tabloid stories suggesting that Neymar has told the club to sell Cavani were true.

What is clear is that PSG coach Unai Emery and club officials need to tackle this dispute before it gets out of hand.

Emery’s initial response that the players need to ‘sort it out between themselves’ is just not good enough.

Cavani is the senior player at the club and his record speaks for itself. With 95 goals in 139 games and three Ligue 1 titles to his name, the Uruguayan has been instrumental in the club’s recent success.

It would be foolish to let all that be undermined by Neymar and his bruised ego.

On the other hand, PSG brought in Neymar to take the team to the next level in the hope of winning the Champions League, so the club also need to assure their expensive acquisition that he is equally important.

At 25, Neymar has already earned his reputation as one of the world’s best footballers, but now he needs learn some respect as well as earning that of his teammates.

Coming to a new club and starting a petty fight with one of its most respected players is certainly no way to achieve that.