“I want to ask you to stop creating stories which are not true,” Neymar told a press conference following Brazil’s 3-1 international friendly victory over Japan in Lille, before leaving in tears.
“I want to say what I think. I’m totally realistic and what I don’t like is these false stories about me, there is nothing bothering me at my club.
“I’m here because I asked to be here. It’s going really well (in Paris), I’m really happy here and motivated. I’m a player who wants to give everything on the pitch.
“What bothers me is everyone creating stories about me, with my coach and with Cavani. These things are not real, it’s not true.”
Neymar and Cavani reportedly fell out over penalty-taking duties after the Uruguayan refused to let the former take a spot-kick in PSG’s 2-0 win over Lyon in September.
Both players subsequently played down the incident, but rumours continue to swirl claiming the Brazilian is unsettled in the French capital.
Neymar, who scored a penalty but also missed a spot-kick in the win over Japan, admitted he had also spoken to national team coach Tite about the matter.
“I just want to be happy, I’m not here to make or create trouble with anybody. I know my role on my pitch and I do what my coach asks me to do,” he said.
“I had a chat with (team coordinator) Edu and Tite because these things are hurting me, every day there are these stories.”
Tite, who replaced Dunga as Brazil boss in June 2016, quashed any notion that he himself had experienced run-ins with the 25-year-old striker.
“People said I had problems with Neymar, it wasn’t true. We heard that a lot and it wasn’t true,” said Tite.
“My relationship with him is the best. I’m not saying this to be a nice guy but because it’s true.”
Provided by AFP Sport
How often does a player move from one giant club to another in the same country and be a darling of the fans for both? Especially in a country like Italy, where fans are notoriously passionate.
That’s Andrea Pirlo for you. Not many can move from AC Milan to Juventus and not face even the slightest amount of venom from fans. The fact that it was the club who chose to let him go, rather than Pirlo choosing to leave, softened the blow, not to mention that the move came after ten years at Milan in which he had become one of the world’s best, a status he’d maintain at Juventus.
He retires as a legend.
Pirlo was the glue of a Milan side that should go down as among the best in the club’s, if not Europe’s, history, then mentor and difference-maker for a historically dominant Juventus team. He was the best player for two brilliant Italy sides, the World Cup-winning team in 2006 and the squad that reached the Euro 2012 final. And his honours board speaks for itself.
Six Serie A titles, two Champions League triumphs, and a World Cup trophy that came down to his genius shining through in two tournament-defining moments. First, the unbelievably cool no-look pass that set up Fabio Grossio’s extra-time goal against Germany in the semi-final; then, the clipped penalty against France that set Italy on their way in the shootout in the final.
Even the fact that he delivered in high-pressure moments doesn’t do justice to Pirlo’s greatness. His combination of vision and range meant that he pulled off passes that most players wouldn’t even have seen, let alone tried. His free-kicks were works of art. But what really added to his legend was how beautifully quotable the man was.
His autobiography, I Think Before I Play, has thrown up some of football fans’ favourite quotes. There was his love for the PlayStation – the best invention since the wheel, he says – and his FIFA duels with Alessandro Nesta. The dismay that set in after Milan’s shock loss to Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final. And of course, his description of the 2006 World Cup triumph: “I spent the afternoon of Sunday, 9 July, 2006 in Berlin sleeping and playing the PlayStation. In the evening, I went out and won the World Cup.”
Andrea Pirlo: unique, glorious, brilliant.
Layvin Kurzawa enjoyed stealing the headlines from Neymar and co as he walked away with the match ball after scoring a second-half hat-trick in Paris Saint-Germain‘s 5-0 Champions League demolition of Anderlecht last week.
Kurzawa, a left-back, scored three times in the space of 26 minutes after the break at the Parc des Princes as PSG ran away with the game following first-half strikes from Marco Verratti and Neymar.
Here, we look at five other unlikely hat-trick heroes.
In 2009, Barcelona were enjoying their most successful era with Pep Guardiola at the helm and a wealth of attacking talent within their ranks. However, when Real Zaragoza came knocking at the Nou Camp, it was Seydou Keita who starred in a 6-1 rout of the visitors.
The midfielder was hardly accustomed to being among the goals with the likes of Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta part of the Catalan roster as well. On this occasion though, he was the main man, opening the scoring with a header from a corner-kick.
He then scored the third, arriving in the box to tap in a squared ball from Ibrahimovic and wrapped up his hat-trick at the death with another header from a corner. His treble on the night accounted for half his season’s tally over the season from 44 appearances.
Just another tactical master-stroke from David Moyes. Seriously though, the Scot moved Steve Watson, who usually plied his trade as a defender, into midfield when Leeds United visited Goodison Park and he stunned everyone with an unprecedented treble in a 4-0 win.
This hat-trick was particularly memorable because of the spectacular nature of the goals as much as the unlikely goal scorer. He opened the scoring, playing a one-two with Duncan Ferguson inside the box before lashing a half-volley into the roof of the net.
Paul Robinson then came off his line to intercept a ball over the top of the defence but his clearance fell for Watson who proceeded to lob him from over 35 yards out. He then chipped the keeper yet again for his third from a near impossible angle.
Ray Parlour had little swagger about him but was an unsung hero during his time for Arsenal, solid as ever and always putting a good shift in. On this occasion against Newcastle though, “The Romford Pele” enjoyed a rare moment in the limelight as he graced Highbury with three of his finest.
Arsenal were on song on the day and Parlour enjoyed plenty of freedom to bomb forward from midfield. He finished off a lovely passing move from the Gunners with a fine strike for his first before nodding in Thierry Henry’s cross to make it 4-0 to the hosts.
Robert Pires then dinked a ball over three Newcastle players for Parlour, bursting past him like a freight train, to latch onto and steer past the keeper to complete his hat-trick.
Naldo stayed true to his Brazilian roots against Frankfurt, boasting a certain flair and eye for goal that every Selecao player harbours regardless of their position on the pitch.
After carrying the ball out from the back, he played a pass and continued his run unmarked before receiving the return with only the keeper to beat which he did with unerring ease for a centre-back. A more tradition centre half goal followed as he buried his header from a free-kick for his second.
He then went on to become the first defender to score a hat-trick in Bundesliga, completing the feat with a shot from distance off a free-kick which bobbled in along the turf.
Comparing David Bentley to David Beckham was ill-advised to say the least but there was a brief moment in time when he produced some superb form for Blackburn and this hat-trick was very much what kicked it off.
In only his first appearance since moving from Arsenal permanently, Bentley became the first player in 14 years to put three past Manchester United. His goals in a stunning 4-3 win over the Red Devils doubled his career tally for senior strikes at the time.
His first two were rather fortuitous, pouncing on a rebound for the opener before taking advantage of a mix up between Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Saar to bundle in the second.
There was nothing scrappy about his hat-trick goal though. Robbie Savage hooked the ball in from the left and Bentley struck it first time on the bounce to bury it into the far corner to make it 4-1 at Ewood Park. Ruud van Nistelrooy bagged a late brace but the hosts ended yup 4-3 winners, leaving Bentley to take the plaudits.