PSG start title defence without Neymar

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Paris St Germain manager Thomas Tuchel said he can understand fans’ frustration at Neymar as the Ligue 1 side started their title defence without the Brazilian.

The record signing was not named in the matchday squad for the comfortable 3-0 win over Nimes at the Parc des Princes with Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria all on the scoresheet.

But Neymar, said to be unsettled in France and who has been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid, was also the focus of attention with a number of fans holding a banner telling him to “get lost” and chanting about the 27-year-old.

Tuchel, quoted in L’Equipe, said: “It’s tricky. I don’t know what to say. I saw it on my colleagues’ smartphones because I did not hear them (the chants) during the match.

“Can I understand it? Yes and no. He’s still our player, my player, and I protect all my players.

“He’s in my dressing room. I can understand that not everyone has liked what he has said and done.”

Cavani’s penalty, following a VAR review on 25 minutes, gave PSG an interval lead before second-half goals from Mbappe and Di Maria put the result beyond doubt.

Asked if Neymar’s creativity was missing, Tuchel said: “It’s always missing because he can find solutions that only he can find. He can open space with movement, an injection of pace, one on ones…”

Cavani put the champions up with a penalty after Nimes defender Pablo Martinez handled in the box with the spot kick awarded by VAR, with Mbappe and Di Maria both finding the net early in the second half.

Mbappe, twice, and Cavani both squandered further opportunities as PSG pressed for a fourth goal late on, while Nimes went close to a consolation in the closing stages through Antonin Bobichon and Renaud Ripart.

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Gareth Bale included in Real Madrid squad for Roma friendly

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Gareth Bale has been recalled to the Real Madrid squad for their final pre-season friendly against Roma on Sunday night.

The Wales forward returns after being omitted from Zinedine Zidane’s squad for Wednesday’s clash with RB Salzburg, having also previously missed the club’s trip to Germany for the Audi Cup.

That came after the collapse of Bale’s proposed transfer to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning amid widespread speculation his six-year stay in Spain could be about to end.

PA understands Bale skipped the trip to Germany, where the Spanish giants faced Tottenham and Fenerbahce, as he was furious with his treatment at the hands of Real boss Zidane and president Florentino Perez and felt he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

The 30-year-old’s future at the Bernabeu has been uncertain since Zidane returned to manage Real for a second time in March.

However, Bale, who joined Real from Tottenham for a then world £85million in 2013 and has three years left on his contract, has now been included in a 20-man squad to face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico later on Sunday.

That will be Real’s seventh and final pre-season friendly, of which Bale has featured in two so far.

Colombia forward James Rodriguez, whose Real future is also uncertain, was not part of the squad to travel to Italy.

The 13-time European champions begin their LaLiga campaign away to Celta Vigo next weekend.

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Gareth Bale left out of Real Madrid squad for friendly against RB Salzburg

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Gareth Bale has been left out of the Real Madrid squad for their pre-season friendly with RB Salzburg.

Bale missed Real’s trip to Germany for the Audi Cup last week after his proposed transfer to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning collapsed.

It is understood Bale skipped the trip as he was furious with his treatment at the hands of Real boss Zinedine Zidane and president Florentino Perez and felt he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

The Wales forward’s future at the Bernabeu has been uncertain since Zidane returned to manage Real for a second time in March.

Bale and Zidane did not get on during the Frenchman’s first spell between 2016 and 2018.

And Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett said last month: “It’s simple, Zidane doesn’t like Gareth.

“There’s no relationship between them. There never has been.”

Bale, 30, who signed from Tottenham in 2013 for a then-world record fee of £85million, has three years left on his Real contract.

With the Premier League transfer window closing at 5pm on Thursday there would appear little scope for Bale to return to England at this moment.

But the transfer window in Spain is open until September 2 and Bale could still leave Real in the next few weeks.

The future of James Rodriguez, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, is also uncertain as the Colombia playmaker was left out of Real’s 20-man squad for Wednesday’s game in Austria.

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