Paris Saint-Germain teammates Edinson Cavani and Neymar were involved in a spat over set-pieces during their 2-0 win over Lyon.
The world’s most expensive player wanted to take a penalty, and challenged Cavani – the club’s penalty taker – for the right to do so but the Uruguayan forward stood his ground and overruled both Neymar and Dani Alves to take the spot-kick, which was saved by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopez.
Cavani left the field immediately after the full-time whistle, as a result of the disagreement, according to L’Equipe, and failed to join the rest of his teammates in saluting the club’s supporters.
The PSG forwards have reportedly fallen out over the incident
He then waited in the dressing room for his teammates to arrive, and reportedly stopped Neymar in his tracks, telling him he was unhappy with his attitude.
According to witnesses, Neymar responded before Cavani stood up and went face-to-face with the Brazilian, only for club captain Thiago Silva and Marquinhos – two other members of PSG’s Brazilian contingent – to intervene.
From there Cavani showered and promptly left through a back door, avoiding the mixed zone at the Parc des Princes – within 20 minutes of the final whistle.
Much has been made of the spat, despite Unai Emery’s best efforts to play it down: “The penalties are to be struck by a few players, one is Cavani and the other is Neymar,” said the PSG boss.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe joined Cavani at PSG in the summer transfer window
“It takes a gentleman’s agreement on the ground to hit the penalties.
“Afterwards, we will arrange internally for the penalties that are coming in, because I think both are able to score them, and I want the two to alternate in this exercise.
Neymar is keen to take on as much responsibility as possible at PSG
“If there is no agreement, I will decide. I do not want it to be a problem for us.”
An interesting theory, per L’Equipe, has since emerged, and could hold the key to the dispute, or at the very least, shed some light on why Cavani is keen to take every penalty.
Dani Alves was also involved in the spat on Saturday
The Uruguayan is said to have a clause in his contract stipulating that if he is the club’s top goal scorer at the end of the season – like last year – he will be awarded a €1million bonus. He is therefore keen to take every opportunity that arises to increase his tally.
It’s not clear whether Neymar has a similar clause in his own contract, although it wouldn’t come as any surprise if he did.