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Neymar out of PSG opener amid exit talks

Updated August 11, 2019

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PSG’s Neymar stands next to assistant coaches (back L to R) Rainer Schrey, Arno Michels and Zsolt Loew as he attends a training session of the club in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on Saturday.—AFP
PSG’s Neymar stands next to assistant coaches (back L to R) Rainer Schrey, Arno Michels and Zsolt Loew as he attends a training session of the club in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on Saturday.—AFP

SAINT LAYE: Paris Saint-Germain revealed on Saturday that Neymar transfer talks are “more advanced than before” after the Brazilian was dropped for the French champions’ opening Ligue 1 match.

Sporting director Leon­ardo confirmed to reporters that the Brazilian was near the exit door but that PSG were “not yet ready to give their approval (to the transfer)” ahead of Sunday’s match at the Parc des Princes.

Real Madrid or a return to Barcelona are the most likely destinations for the world’s most expensive footballer, with Spanish media on Friday saying that Zinedine Zidane’s side will battle Barca for the 27-year-old’s signature.

Sports newspaper AS claimed Neymar has been offered to Madrid by PSG, who are open to selling if they can either recoup the 222 million euros ($249 million) they spent on him in 2017 or receive half that amount with players included in the deal.

Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo says that he would prefer a move back to Catalonia to play alongside former teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.Neymar started the new season by angering the Qatari-backed club when he turned up one week late for training.

The player’s camp maintained he had a prior agreement to stay away but that didn’t wash with his employers who threatened to take “appropriate action”.

Off the pitch, Neymar was informed by a Brazilian judge on Friday that the rape case which has been hanging over the footballer for months had been dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Neymar had vehemently denied allegations he raped a Brazilian woman in a Paris hotel in May.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2019