Neymar's reported demand could drive Kylian Mbappe out of PSG
When Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo fell out at Manchester United in 2006, Alex Ferguson was forced into a tight spot
Should he side with the more established player, a prolific goalscorer and one of the best strikers in the world, or put his faith in the promising young player? Van Nistelrooy had become disruptive and frustrated with the situation at United and lashed out at Ferguson when he was dropped for a League Cup final. Ronaldo was also often the focus of his anger.
"The first sign of trouble in our relationship had been that Ruud had started to mouth off all the time to Carlos Queiroz about Ronaldo," Ferguson said in his second autobiography.
Ferguson decided to sell Van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid and made Ronaldo the undisputed star of the team. United never looked back. They went on to win three Premier League titles in a row and the Champions League as Ronaldo developed into one of the best players in the world. The current situation at Paris Saint-Germain isn't quite like it was at United 12-years ago, but there are parallels.
According to reports, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe don't get along and both want to be the main player for the French side. It appears that PSG may have to choose between a disruptive, established star, and a player who is on his way to becoming the best in the world. It doesn't sound like they're going to follow Ferguson's approach either and ditch the older, reportedly troublesome player.
According to Diego Torres, a football journalist for Spanish newspaper El Pais, Neymar has decided that he wants to stay at PSG, and will ignore interest from Real Madrid.
However, he has reportedly stipulated that he must be the undisputed leader and star of the team.
That could cause a problem with the brilliant Mbappe, who is already one of the best players in the world and reportedly isn't willing to bend the knee to Neymar.
According to the report:
- Neymar has decided that he wants to stay in Paris but only if he remains the undisputed star of the team.
- According to Torres, Neymar's father told PSG that his son "wants to feel like the most important player" and that this is "non-negotiable."
- "In this, the father was very clear; his only condition to follow is that no one doubts that the centre of the club is him."
- PSG were relieved, as they expected Neymar to ask for a transfer to Real and had been expecting a bid from the Spanish club.
- Madrid met with Neymar's father several times over the past few months and reportedly told him that they would build a project around the Brazilian. However, the move didn't materialise and the forward decided to stay in Paris.
- Neymar's father is said to have told PSG that "while Neymar is in Paris, he will be the only king."
- However, some within the club and the dressing room are reportedly worried that Mbappe and Neymar will struggle to co-exist, as there is said to be already tension between the pair. "In the French dressing room, they warn that they are incompatible personalities."
- Both want to be the main player in the team and feel they are worthy of such a role.
- According to Torres, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the PSG chairman, will side with Neymar if forced to choose between the two. This could lead to Mbappe feeling isolated.
- PSG are hoping there will be room for both players and are prepared to pay each player more if it means that they are happy at the club.
In a report last week, Torres wrote that Neymar and his teammate Dani Alves have regularly mocked the appearance of Mbappe and often deliberately didn't pass to him. With Mbappe's status increased after a stunning World Cup, the tension could rachet up between the pair in Paris.
Mbappe returned from Russia as a world champion and potential Ballon d'Or winner after his performances for France. Neymar spent most of the tournament rolling around feigning injury as Brazil went out in the quarter-finals.
You can read Torres' report here. The Spanish journalist previously wrote an account of Jose Mourinho's tumultuous time at Real Madrid.