Neymar NYE party, controversy, models,

Neymar laughed off controversy over reports he was throwing a mega New Year’s party for 500 guests, posting a video online of preparations for what he called a “low-key dinner” with family and friends.

The superstar footballer has faced a flood of criticism in his native Brazil and beyond over reports that despite the coronavirus pandemic he was ringing in 2021 with a week-long bash for hundreds of people at his mansion outside Rio de Janeiro.

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However, he took to Instagram several hours before midnight to show his New Year’s Eve plans, which he described as small-scale.

The 28-year-old Paris Saint-Germain striker posted a video of a dinner table that appeared to be for about 40 guests, decked out with white flowers and an empty chair between each place setting.

“Marvellous decoration for this beautiful, low-key little dinner at home, with social distancing,” he said.

“And it’s not for 500 people, OK?” he added with a laugh.

“Social distancing. Everyone tested,” he wrote in a caption.

Earlier, he posted videos of himself and his nine-year-old son getting what he called his “50th test” for the new coronavirus.

Neymar, who hasn’t played since injuring his ankle against Lyon on December 13, had previously avoided commenting on reports about his supposed party in the seaside town of Mangaratiba.

Rio de Janeiro state prosecutors have opened an investigation into the reports.

They said Neymar denied on Thursday hosting any party in Mangaratiba, according to news site G1.

The footballer has reportedly travelled to Santa Catarina state in southern Brazil to ring in the New Year there.

His press office did not immediately respond to questions from AFP on his plans.

Brazil has the second-highest death toll in the pandemic, after the United States, with nearly 195,000 people killed by COVID-19.

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Neymar New Year’s Eve party, Instagram models, influencers fly in to Rio for beach event with PSG, Brazil striker

Rumours of a giant year-end party organised by Neymar in Brazil in the midst of the COVID pandemic have revived his image as an eternal spoiled child.

Despite vigorous denials by the football star’s entourage, Brazilian media has reported he is behind a seven-day, non-stop rave for 500 guests, including a bevy of models who have begun announcing their arrivals on social media.

A disused hangar was purchased to hide VIP helicopters and private jets while a $10 million rented mansion has been soundproofed for an event dubbed locally as Neymarpalooza.

The Sun reported models Kiki Passo, Michelle Nevius and Jessica Bartlett flew in from Miami, allegedly invited by 28-year-old Brazil striker Neymar and his pals via Instagram Direct.

Meanwhile, Brazilians Camila Remedy and Fernanda Brum are said to have arrived at his mansion on Monday by private jet from Porto Alegre. They posted: “Let’s go by jet to end the year with glamour.”

Brazilian influencer and model Ana Liz Bittencourt also showed pictures of herself wearing the wristband that guarantees entry to the event.

Neymar, who was sold from Barcelona to PSG for a world record $333 million transfer fee in 2017, has been slammed by many in his homeland, which is one of the countries hit hardest by COVID.

Human rights lawyer Augusto de Arruda Botelho tweeted: “The idiot trophy for the day goes to Neymar for his five-day party.”

Juca Kfouri, a veteran sports journalist, went further, speaking of Neymar’s “criminal irresponsibility” in a podcast from the UOL website.

“Not only is there nothing in his head, but he is irresponsible, this is a very bad example for Brazil,” said Kfouri, recalling that the 28-year-old striker has often appeared alongside far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed the importance of the virus.

Earlier this week an agency named Fabrica said in a statement it had organised a party but didn’t mention Neymar.

“Agencia Fabrica clarifies that it is the creator and producer of New Year’s Eve event in the Costa Verde region, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, which will receive approximately 150 people,” it read.

“The event will take place in compliance with all health standards determined by public agencies.

“The company also clarifies that the private event, with exclusive access for guests and without ticket sales, happens with all licenses from the competent bodies necessary for its realisation.”

The glamour striker’s reps said he was invited but not involved.

“It’s a matter for the agency and it has nothing to do with Neymar,” Neymar’s lawyers told AFP. “We have no information about such an event.”

Neymar, normally active on social media, is keeping quiet. So too are his main sponsors Puma, who wrenched him away from Nike in September. Contacted by AFP, the German sports-goods manufacturer refused to comment.

The refusal to deny the party is taking place has brought a reaction from Brazilian media.

“It would be much simpler if Neymar went on social networks and said he had nothing to do with it. LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo don’t throw any parties,” said Galvao Bueno of TV Globo, on Monday evening.

After a series of seasons marred by injuries, failures in big matches and complaints about his diving when tackled, Neymar helped Paris Saint-Germain reach their first Champions League final this year.

His image received another lift when he and Kylian Mbappe led the Paris Saint-Germain players off the field after a match official aimed a racist remark at a coach of opposing Basaksehir three weeks ago during a Champions League match.

“His image was improving, but has been severely damaged again, even though 2020 was one of his best years,” sports marketing consultant Erich Beting told AFP.

State law in Rio de Janeiro does not prohibit parties in private residences. The city council of Mangaratiba, the seaside resort where Neymar owns a villa he uses for parties, said in a statement that it “did not have the power” to intervene.

“The problem with Neymar, who is used to throwing parties for his birthdays, is that he is sending back this idea of a guy who is out of touch,” Jerome Neveu, founding president of Advent, a French consultancy firm specialising in celebrity marketing, told AFP in Paris.

“He’s very popular and has a lot of followers on social networks, but he’s also quite divisive. There are people who are huge fans who will forgive him almost anything,” said Neveu. “On the other hand there are those who do not forgive him anything and call on him to set an example.”

– AFP, The Sun

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Transfer rumours: Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, Bilic, Musiala, Ozil, Depay, Tomori, Seedorf

Paris St-Germain and Manchester City’s hopes of signing Lionel Messi have been given a boost as Barcelona presidential candidate Emili Rousaud said the Argentine’s salary “is unsustainable” for the Spanish club, beyond the end of his contract next summer. (AS – in Spanish)external-link

Rousaud wants to reunite Messi with Paris St-Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar at the Spanish giants but says Barca cannot afford to sign the 28-year-old before his contract expires in 2022. (AS – in Spanish)external-link

Ex-Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta says the Premier League club is “the best place” for Messi if his former Argentina team-mate leaves Barca. (Stadium Astro, via Sun)external-link

There is “a real possibility” Messi will leave Barca to join PSG next summer, with France forward Kylian Mbappe, 21, leaving the French champions for Real Madrid. (TalkSport)external-link

West Brom are set to sack manager Slaven Bilic and replace him with former England boss Sam Allardyce. (TalkSport)external-link

Bayern Munich are ready to hand attacking midfielder Jamal Musiala, 17, a new deal worth more than £100,000 a week amid mounting Premier League interest in the England U21 international. (Mail)external-link

Mesut Ozil’s agent says that the German midfielder, 32, wants to stay at Arsenal and see out the final six months of his contract – despite the club wanting him to leave in January. (Tuttomercato – in Italian)external-link

Paris St-Germain are ready to negotiate a deal for Lyon’s 22-year-old France winger Houssem Aouar, who was an Arsenal target last summer. (RMC Sport, via Sun)external-link

Former Barcelona target Memphis Depay, 26, is yet to make a decision about his future, with the Netherlands forward’s Lyon contract expiring next summer. (Goal)external-link

Leeds United are keeping tabs on Chelsea’s England defender Fikayo Tomori, 22, with a view to a move for him in the January transfer window. (Football Insider)external-link

Arsenal and Marseille are interested in signing Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira, 20, from Porto. (Record – in Portuguese)external-link

Brighton striker Glenn Murray, 37, could end his season-long loan at Watford early having made just one league start with the Championship club. (Football Insider)external-link

Stoke City and Reading have set their sights on signing Motherwell’s 22-year-old Dutch winger Sherwin Seedorf. (Football Insider)external-link

French clubs are facing a financial abyss after the collapse of Ligue 1’s huge television deal. (Guardian)external-link

The Professional Footballers’ Association has taken action to prevent unwanted players being made to train alone or with youth players. (Telegraph – subscription required)external-link

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Transfer rumours: Neymar, Mbappe, Alaba, Pogba, Messi, De Jong, Hulk

Brazil forward Neymar, 28, says that leaving Paris St-Germain “does not cross my mind”. (L’Equipe – in French)external-link

Chelsea are one of four potential destinations David Alaba’s agent has identified for the Austria defender, 28, if he leaves Bayern Munich next summer. The others are Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG. (Bild, via Sun)external-link

Manchester United have doubts about whether Real Madrid or Juventus can afford to sign their France midfielder Paul Pogba, 27. (ESPN)external-link

Argentine forward Lionel Messi would threaten the financial balance at Paris St-Germain if the 33-year-old joined from Barcelona, says former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. (Goal)external-link

Jordi Farre says that if he wins the Barcelona presidential election on 24 January, Messi will sign a contract renewal the next day. (Sport – in Spanish)external-link

Bayern Munich are preparing a move for Barcelona and Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong, 23. (Mundo Deportivo – in Spanish)external-link

Brazil striker Hulk, 34, is willing to take a 90% pay cut to seal a free transfer to the Premier League after ending his four-year spell with Shanghai SIPG. (Record, via Sun)external-link

Wolves have been offered the chance to sign Hulk as a replacement for injured Mexico striker Raul Jimenez. (Football Insider)external-link

Arsenal and Wolves are among a number of clubs watching developments with Valencia and Uruguay striker Maxi Gomez. The 24-year-old could be sold next year as the Spanish club look to raise funds. (Mail)external-link

Scouts from Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton and Manchester United will watch Jamaica winger Leon Bailey, 23, in Bayer Leverkusen’s Europa League tie with Slavia Prague on Thursday. (Mail)external-link

PSV Eindhoven’s Netherlands forward Donyell Malen, 21, is at the top of Borussia Dortmund’s list to replace Jadon Sancho if they sell the English winger, 20, next year. (Bild – in German)external-link

Benfica have decided to send on-loan French defender Jean-Clair Todibo, 20, back to Barcelona in January. (Record – in Portuguese)external-link

Benfica are also interested in signing French midfielder Boubakary Soumare, 21, from Lille. (A Bola – in Portuguese)external-link

Dutch forward Sydney van Hooijdonk, 20, could join his father Pierre’s former club Nottingham Forest as his NAC Breda contract has a clause which allows him a free transfer in January. Forest’s Championship rivals Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday are also interested. (Sun)external-link

Wolves and Burnley are interested in Stoke City’s English striker Tyrese Campbell, but the Championship side have already told Rangers that the 20-year-old is not for sale in January. (Football Insider)external-link

MLS side Toronto FC are interviewing former France internationals Laurent Blanc, 55, and Patrick Vieira, 44, for their head coaching vacancy. (Boston Globe)external-link

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Football world reacts, tributes, Pele, Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Twitter, Instagram

The football world united to pay tribute to one of the game’s greatest-ever players after Argentine legend Diego Maradona died at the age of 60 on Thursday.

Renowned for inspiring Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986, he was most loved at club level for his spells with Boca Juniors in his homeland and Napoli in Italy, where he won the club’s only two Serie A titles.

Many of the world’s best players, including modern stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, hailed Maradona as a true icon.

“Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius,” Ronaldo tweeted. “One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”

Messi, who took his mantle as Argentina’s leading player, posted on Instagram. “A very sad day for all Argentines and for football. He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal,” Messi wrote. “I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I wanted to take the opportunity to send my condolences to all his family and friends.”

His former teams added their voice.

“You are eternal in every heart in world football,” the Twitter account of the Argentina national team posted alongside a picture of Maradona holding the World Cup.

Napoli’s Twitter feed said: “Always in our hearts, Ciao Diego.” Boca posted: “Eternal thanks. Eternal Diego.”

Maradona also played for Barcelona and Sevilla in Europe and Argentinos Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina before embarking on a far less successful managerial career.

“Thank you for everything Diego. FC Barcelona expresses its deepest condolences regarding the death of Diego Armando Maradona, a player for our club (1982-84) and an icon of world football,” Barcelona said in a statement.

Maradona is remembered for his masterly composure on the ball, but he was also famous for his frequent lack of control both on the field and off.

He struggled with addiction, notably to cocaine, and with his weight, in contrast to the more clean-cut image of Brazilian legend and three-time World Cup winner Pele.

“What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend,” Pele tweeted. “One day, I hope we play soccer together in the sky.”

Ex-Tottenham and Argentina midfielder Ossie Ardiles said: “Thank dear Dieguito for your friendship, for your football, sublime, without comparison. Simply, the best football player in the history of football. So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend.”

Paris St-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar posted a photo of him as a youngster with Maradona, calling the Argentine a “legend of football”.

The pinnacle of Maradona’s playing career came in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final, where his two iconic goals defeated England 2-1.

Both goals reflected Maradona’s larger-than-life character.

For the first he punched the ball into the net for a goal he named “Hand of God”, while for the second he showed incredible skill by dancing round the England team from inside his own half.

“By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time,” said Gary Lineker, who scored England’s goal in that match.

“After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego.”

Sprint king Usain Bolt and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar were among the greats from other sports to pay tribute.

“Football and the world of sports has lost one of its greatest players today,” Tendulkar wrote. “Rest in Peace Diego Maradona! You shall be missed.”


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Transfer rumours: Alaba, Emerson, Schuurs, Neymar, Sarri

Bayern Munich defender David Alaba has been offered to Real Madrid by his agent Pini Zahavi but Juventus and Inter Milan are also interested in the 28-year-old Austrian, who is out of contract at the end of the season. (Calciomercato – in Italian)external-link

Brazilian forward Neymar no longer wants to go back to Barcelona and the 28-year-old would rather stay at Paris St-Germain. (AS – in Spanish)external-link

Liverpool are interested in Ajax defender Perr Schuurs. The 20-year-old Dutchman was on trial at Anfield three years ago. (Mirror)external-link

Chelsea are planning a move for Malmo and Bosnia and Herzegovina centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic, 21, who previously played for Nottingham Forest. (Expressen – in Swedish)external-link

Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is the leading candidate to replace Beppe Iachini if he is sacked by Fiorentina. (Calciomercato)external-link

Atletico Madrid are close to signing Valencia and Central African Republic midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, 27, as a replacement for Thomas Partey, who joined Arsenal last month. (ESPN)external-link

Chelsea, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid are keen on signing Borussia Monchengladbach and Germany centre-back Matthias Ginter, 26. (Kicker – in German)external-link

AC Milan have made Barcelona’s 21-year-old Brazilian full-back Emerson, who is on loan at Real Betis, their main target for next summer. (Todofichajes – in Spanish)external-link

Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso has revealed that James Bond star Sir Sean Connery, who died on Saturday, once tried to convince him not to leave Rangers when the Italian was playing there. (Sky Sports)external-link

Premier League bosses are under increasing pressure to abandon pay-per-view football during the upcoming lockdown. (Sun)external-link

Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, 23, has shared a picture of himself training with the Manchester City squad as he nears a return to first-team action. (Manchester Evening News)external-link

Wolves are planning a move for Middlesbrough’s English right-back Djed Spence, 20, in the January transfer window. (Teamtalk via Birmingham Mail)external-link

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Neymar: Paris St-Germain ‘strongly support’ striker after racism allegation

Neymar was dismissed for making contact with the back of Gonzalez’s head, after the incident was viewed by VAR replay

Paris St-Germain say they will “strongly support” their Brazilian playmaker Neymar after he claimed to have been racially abused by Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez.

On Twitter, Neymar accused his opponent of racism and urged the authorities to use VAR to clarify matters.

PSG said there was “no place for racism in society, football or in our lives”.

In a short statement issued on Monday, the French champions said the club “looks forward to [French governing body] the LFP’s disciplinary commission investigating and ascertaining the facts”.

“The club remains at the LFP’s disposal for any assistance required,” the statement added.

Neymar and team-mates Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa, plus Marseille pair Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto, were dismissed after trouble broke out in added time following a shove by Paredes on Benedetto.

After his dismissal, Neymar informed the fourth official he had been subjected to racial abuse by Gonzalez and later wrote of the Spaniard: “Insulting and bringing racism into our lives no, I don’t agree. I don’t respect you, you have no character.”

Gonzalez denied racism and accused Neymar of being a bad loser.

The LFP disciplinary committee will meet on Wednesday to examine all five red cards and will use reports from officials and match pictures to decide whether further disciplinary action is taken.

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Neymar alleges racism, five players sent off, PSG vs Marseille

Neymar insisted he was the victim of racism as he was one of five players sent off in a mass brawl at the end of Marseille’s 1-0 win over Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.

PSG’s Brazilian star appeared to accuse Alvaro Gonzalez of calling him a “monkey” in a series of furious tweets after he was sent off in injury time for slapping the Marseille defender on the back of the head.

“Look at the racism. That’s why I hit him,” Neymar, who was returning from coronavirus quarantine, said as he left the pitch.

The world’s most expensive player later tweeted: “The only regret I have is not hitting this idiot in the face.”

Neymar was red-carded after a VAR review, while teammates Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes were also sent off. Marseille striker Dario Benedetto and defender Jordan Amavi were also expelled.

“It’s easy for VAR to show my ‘aggression’. ‘Now I’d like to them to show the image of the racist who called me a ‘MONKEY SON OF A BITCH’. I’d really like that!” Neymar tweeted.

Florian Thauvin’s close-range volley on 31 minutes earned Marseille a first victory over their bitter rivals since November 2011, but the ugly scenes overshadowed the game at Parc des Princes.

“(Neymar) told me it was a racist insult, but I didn’t hear anything on the pitch”, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said.

Marseille coach Andre Villas Boas told Telefoot: “There is no place for racism in football but I don’t think that was the case … we’ll have to look at it.”

According to Telefoot, Gonzalez replied, “What racism?” when he was asked about the incident. Insulting comments on his Instagram account have received tens of thousands of likes.

PSG sporting director Leonardo suggested referee Jerome Brisard lacked the experience to officiate such a highly-charged fixture.

“Fourteen yellow cards and five reds means the match was out of control,” Leonardo said.

“Not to criticise the referee, but perhaps it’s not the time to officiate a ‘clasico’.”

Tuchel tried to downplay the defeat: “I’m not angry. I think you have to separate the performance and the result. We played a great match, I’m happy with the quality, mentality and the effort.

“I told the players if we continue to play like that we’ll win every match. It was a great performance but the result is what it is.”

PSG, runners-up to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final last month, have now lost their opening two games of a season without scoring for the first time since 1978/79.

A frenzied schedule awaits Tuchel’s coronavirus-hit side, starting with the visit of Metz in midweek and a trip to Nice next Sunday, and Neymar now faces a suspension.

Marseille find themselves with an early six-point advantage as they attempt to close the gap on PSG, French champions seven of the past eight years.


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Paris St-Germain in Champions League: Can Neymar finally PSG to glory?

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both played a part in PSG’s winner against Atalanta

We have been here before but there is a feeling this could finally be Paris St-Germain’s year in the Champions League. So will it be?

The perennial French champions face RB Leipzig in the last four on Tuesday as they try to reach the final for the first time.

They were seconds away from going out to Atalanta on Wednesday but Marquinhos equalised in the 90th minute and former Stoke striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the winner 149 seconds later.

The Champions League has been the missing piece of the puzzle since PSG’s big-money takeover by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011.

In eight full seasons under Qatari ownership, they have won 18 of the 24 domestic trophies – including seven Ligue 1 titles.

But this is the first time they have been to the Champions League semi-finals since 1994-95, long before the takeover.

They reached the quarter-finals in the first four years of Qatari ownership but seemed to regress by going out in the last 16 for the next three seasons.

Capitulations against Barcelona in 2017 and Manchester United last year will live long in the mind.

What has changed this time? Have PSG found a team spirit?

Former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel has never been this far in the Champions League

This year, instead of bottling the big moments, PSG have managed to show resilience.

They topped a group containing Real Madrid with five wins and a draw.

They then overcame a first-leg defeat to beat Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 pre-coronavirus break, before their comeback against Atalanta in the quarter-finals.

So what has changed?

“The team spirit we saw against Atalanta and in the second leg against Borussia Dortmund was not really there in previous years,” says French football journalist Julien Laurens.

“Boss Thomas Tuchel and his staff created a pact between them that this could be their year – you have to believe until the end and not feel that stress or pressure that you did before. The game against Atalanta showed that really well.”

Is this Neymar’s time?

Neymar has scored 70 goals in 83 games for PSG, including 14 in 18 in the Champions League

PSG made Brazil forward Neymar the world’s most expensive signing when they paid Barcelona 222m euros (£200m) for him in 2017, a record that still stands.

That was largely in a bid to challenge for the Champions League, a competition Neymar won with Barca in 2014-15.

They also brought in France striker Kylian Mbappe for 180m euros (£165.7m), the second most costly signing of all time.

Neymar has been unfortunate in the Champions League and missed the game in which they were eliminated in his first two seasons with a foot injury.

However, he has managed to stay injury free at the right moments during 2019-20 – even though he has had three spells out – and fitness should not be an issue after Ligue 1 was curtailed.

The 28-year-old was impressive in their victory over Atalanta, taking the lead in driving the team during the first half and then having a hand in both their goals.

“Neymar showed why he is one of the best in the world,” adds Laurens. “He wasted chances but the way he played and the way he took the game on and owned the game was incredible.”

One more hurdle to overcome

PSG could probably not have hoped for a more favourable Champions League semi-final (on paper anyway) than RB Leipzig.

The German team were only formed 11 years ago and had only won two matches in Europe’s elite club competition before this season.

They have also lost their all-time top scorer, Timo Werner, to Chelsea.

However, they did see off Atletico Madrid – conquerors of holders Liverpool and twice finalists under manager Diego Simeone – in the quarter-finals.

Laurens says: “In Paris they are very cautious of this Leipzig team and they know PSG can only go through if Neymar and Mbappe have the same type of performance they had against Atalanta.”

Bayern Munich or Lyon await the winner in the final. Will PSG be there? We shall find out soon enough.

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