In the latest twist in the ongoing feud between Paris Saint-Germain’s top two forwards, Edinson Cavani has reportedly rejected club president Nasser al-Khelaifi’s offer of a whopping €1 million bonus and an improved contract to allow Neymar to take penalties.
According to a report in the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Al-Khelaifi sent an intermediary to offer money to the Uruguayan forward in an attempt to pacify the fight between the two penalty-takers. However, Cavani refused to concede. The report suggests that while he was okay if the the club wanted to pay more, he would continue taking his share of penalties because he had been playing for PSG for four years and was the team’s third captain.
Al-Khelaifi also reportedly offered Cavani €1 million if he finishes the season as the PSG’s leading goal-scorer in Ligue 1, a clause that was not previously in his contract, according to Spanish sports daily AS football.
Al-Khelaifi also sent emissaries to Neymar to let up a little, “told him that he was a total player and suggested that the king of the team had to act with magnanimity”, reported El Pais. However, the Brazilian wasn’t too pleased with the idea either.
During a 2-0 victory over Lyon last week, the South American pair had disagreed over who should take a penalty, before Cavani saw his effort saved by Anthony Lopes. Neymar then appeared to walk away shaking his head in disgust.
Another incident in the game saw Cavani and Neymar disagree over who should take a free-kick with the match still goalless. Dani Alves intervened to give his compatriot the ball on that occasion, and Neymar’s strike was saved. After the match, the pair apparently had a row in the dressing room and manager Unai Emery also got involved, reported L’Equipe.
However, it appears that the ill-feeling surrounding Neymar’s arrival is shared by other members of the PSG squad as well. After the world record $222m signing, PSG had to avoid breaching Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations and made several prominent first-team players available for transfer. Ángel Di María, Javier Pastore, Blaise Matuidi, Lucas Moura, Julian Draxler, Hatem Ben Arfa, Serge Aurier, and Thiago Silva were in the list, which made the bulk of the team discontent, according to AS football.
Meanwhile, PSG played their worst game this season, a 0-0 draw at Montpellier with Neymar missing due to an injury. However, Emery said he expects Neymar to return from injury for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich.
With inputs from AFP