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Paris Saint-Germain deny offering Edinson Cavani €1m to let Neymar take penalties as unrest at club grows

Reports in Spain suggest the Brazilian superstar has grown increasingly isolated with senior players backing Cavani

Evan Bartlett
Monday 25 September 2017 14:06 BST
There are reports of a huge rift in the PSG dressing room
There are reports of a huge rift in the PSG dressing room (AFP/Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain have denied offering Edinson Cavani a €1m (£880k) bonus in order to allow new teammate Neymar to take over penalty duties.

Reports on Monday morning suggested the Ligue 1 club’s owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi had made the offer after Cavani – the club’s regular penalty taker last season – had a public row with the world record signing before a spot kick against Lyon last weekend.

“PSG formally denies reports which say Cavani would abandon penalties in exchange for the automatic payment of a bonus,” the club said in a statement.

The story had initially surfaced in El Pais, part of a Spanish press pack that is sympathetic to Barcelona, who were left embarrassed by losing one of their prized assets to a European rival.

The newspaper suggests the falling out between Neymar and Cavani has caused a huge rift in the PSG dressing room, with the majority of the squad siding with the Uruguayan striker who has been at the club for four years.

Dani Alves, one of Neymar’s compatriots and one of his few allies at the club, is said to have organised a team-bonding session to close the rift but that it ended being “as animated as a funeral wake”.

El Pais says there is a general feeling of resentment towards Neymar – who is on double Cavani’s wages – because so many of the players left at the club feel they were effectively put up for sale over summer so PSG could afford its €222m deal for the Brazilian.

“The list included Di Maria, Pastore, Matuidi, Moura, Draxler, Ben Arfa, Aurier and Thiago Silva,” the paper says.

“Some are among the team's most influential players in recent years and the message [sent by the club], according to one source, was dishonorable. It consisted of informing the players that, because of the signing of Neymar, the club was in need of selling them to obtain income and thus to balance accounts according to the rules of financial fair play.

“French international Blaise Matuidi, one of the leaders of the group, was hurt and forced his transfer to Juventus for only €20m. His course sowed discouragement. To a greater or lesser extent, all members of the staff felt treated as merchandise in exchange for opening a gap to Neymar. In the dressing room there was a question: ‘Who is this? Does he think he is Messi?’

“The player who leads this group of indignados is Edinson Cavani.”

Neymar, who is said to already feel “isolated” in Paris, missed the 0-0 draw against Montpellier on Friday with a foot injury – although he was back in training on Monday ahead of the club’s Champions league clash with Bayern Munich.

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