Neymar insisted he had been 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. Gonzalez later denied making a racist comment.
“The only regret I have is not hitting this idiot in the face,” Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, tweeted after the game.
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 them to show the image of the racist who called me a ‘MONKEY SON OF A B****. 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.
“There is no place for racism in football but I don’t think that was the case,” Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas told Telefoot. “We’ll have to look at it.”
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. – AFP