Neymar is definitely out of PSG’s meeting with Barcelona on Tuesday, according to L’Equipe
Neymar is definitely out of PSG’s meeting with Barcelona on Tuesday, according to L’Equipe
Despite Neymar’s absence for the final half an hour, PSG ran out 1-0 winners over Caen thanks to Moise Kean’s 49th minute effort.
Neymar was forced off with injury after an hour during PSG’s French Cup victory over Caen on Wednesday evening – just six days before his side’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.
The Brazil forward – who has 13 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions this season – is due to face his former side Barcelona on Tuesday 16 February in the first leg of the pair’s Champions League last 16 tie. No time scale has yet been given for his return.
As reported by journalist Jonathan Johnson, Neymar went down with a left adductor problem on the 60 minute mark with PSG leading 1-0.
He was replaced by Kylian Mbappe, before heading straight down the tunnel towards the dressing room.
Despite Neymar’s absence for the final half an hour, PSG ran out 1-0 winners over Caen thanks to Moise Kean’s 49th minute effort.
PSG play Niice in Ligue 1 on Saturday 13 February, before the trip to Camp Nou to face Barcelona three days later. Their last 16 second leg against Ronald Koeman’s side at the Parc de Princes is not until 10 March.
Neymar has been prolific in the Champions League this season, netting six goals in five appearances.
Bechler says the player is ‘very close’ to signing and it could even be announced this week.
Neymar is closing in on a new long-term contract with Paris Saint-Germain, having confirmed earlier this week he is happy at Parc des Princes and wants to stay at the club.
Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in a controversial world record transfer worth €222m in the summer of 2017, but just two years later he was determined to go back to Camp Nou amid claims that he wanted to reunite with Lionel Messi and regretted ever leaving.
No deal ever materialised at that time, with Barça lacking the financial resources to tempt PSG into selling, nor convincing their own players to move in the opposite direction in a cash-less deal.
Even though it was later rumoured that Barcelona were only going through the motions to appease the various parties, knowing full well a deal wasn’t really possible, Neymar was said to have been so distraught when he learned he wouldn’t be heading back that he cried.
Now, however, things have changed considerably. PSG reached the Champions League final last season, while Barcelona’s spiralling debt and Messi’s uncertain future makes any potential reunion between the pair vastly more likely to be in Paris.
News on an agreement over a new contract comes from Brazilian journalist Marcelo Bechler, who was a major source of information when Neymar agreed to join PSG in the first place back in 2017.
Bechler says the player is ‘very close’ to signing and it could even be announced this week.
The new contract would be for another four years, taking Neymar, who celebrates his 29th birthday on Friday, well into his 30s by the time it is due to expire. His existing deal ends in 2022.
Earlier this week, Neymar told French broadcaster TF1: “I am happy today. I am truly happy. Things have changed a lot. I can’t exactly explain why. But today, I am feeling good. I have adapted. I am more calm and I am more happy.
“I want to stay at PSG. I also want Kylian [Mbappe] to stay. We want PSG to be a great team. I want to continue to play football and be happy, that is the most important thing.”
Like Kylian Mbappe — who recently scored his 100th PSG goal — Neymar’s contract runs until 2022 but PSG are hopeful the duo will sign new terms.
Neymar played a leading part in the unprecedented anti-racism protest which saw Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir players leave the field in their Champions League match this week, and the Brazilian has also been living up to his status as the world’s most expensive player in recent weeks.
The former Barcelona superstar’s hat-trick in PSG’s 5-1 win over the Turks when the game restarted a day later included two goals that were simply out of this world.
Neymar had previously scored the winner against RB Leipzig and a brace in the 3-1 victory at Manchester United and his goals allowed the French champions to finish top of an awkward Champions League group.
He explained the decision to walk off in protest at the alleged use of a racist term by one of the Romanian match officials was something that “needed to be done to see if the world can change a little”. The images of him kneeling, with a clenched fist raised, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement were powerful.
PSG supporters would also have been encouraged to hear the 28-year-old stress he is happy in Paris, a week after creating headlines by admitting he wanted to be on the same team as Lionel Messi next season.
“I am very happy here in Paris, at the club, with my teammates, so the idea of leaving is not going through my head, but people need things to talk about,” he told broadcaster RMC Sport.
“I am really happy and settled so let’s see what happens in the future.”
“We have started talking. It is all confidential but we are confident, both of them want to stay,” said PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi.
Mbappe and Neymar, who has scored or set up 65 goals in 65 Champions League matches, will lead PSG into a top-of-the-table Ligue 1 clash at home to in-form Lyon on Sunday.
The defending champions are top but the five teams below them are all within five points, with Lyon two points behind the leaders.
Player to watch: Angel di Maria
Forget Neymar and Mbappe, Di Maria was PSG’s best player in the last, curtailed French season. In fact, he has probably been their standout performer since the two most expensive signings in history arrived in August 2017.
However, the Argentine has lost his place in recent weeks. His only start in PSG’s last four games came when PSG fielded a second-string XI at Montpellier. In the win at Manchester United not only did he not come on, but he was also at one stage stripped for action only to be sent back to his seat.
Out of contract at the end of this season — a situation that has put the 32-year-old’s future in the spotlight — Di Maria will hope for a recall against Lyon.
5 – Marseille has won their last five Ligue 1 games. Four points behind leaders PSG, they are on course to top the table if they win their two games in hand, but they face a tough test against Monaco on Saturday.
13 – After finishing 13th last season, Nantes this week parted company with coach Christian Gourcuff with the Canaries taking just 13 points from their first 13 games in this campaign. The eight-time French champions became the fourth club to change coach this season. One of the others, bottom side Dijon, are their opponents this weekend.
10 – Lyon is unbeaten in 10 games as they search for a first win at the Parc des Princes since 2007.
Fixtures (Kick-offs GMT)
Saint-Etienne v Angers (2000)
Marseille v Monaco (1600), Lens v Montpellier (2000)
Nice v Rennes (1200), Brest v Reims, Lorient v Nimes, Nantes v Dijon, Strasbourg v Metz (all 1400), Lille v Bordeaux (1600), Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon (2000)
Spain’s tax agency have released their annual list of people and companies who owed more than 1m euros in taxes at the end of 2019.
With a debt of 34.6m euros, Neymar is one of the most high-profile names to appear on this year’s list.
Various clubs also appear, with Real Murcia owing 10.7m euros in back taxes, Hercules 3.7m euros, Lleida Sportiu 1.5m euros, Real Jaen 1.2m euros and Reus Deportiu 1.1m euros.
Girona’s basketball team owe 10m euros, Atletico Alcantarilla 1.8m euros and Balonmano Neptuno 1m euros.
Retired Argentine footballer Gabriel Milito appears with 1.8m euros and former MotoGP rider Alfonso ‘Sito’ Pons has 1.9m euros of debt, after also appearing on the list in 2019.
Neymar joined Lionel Messi in questioning Barcelona’s decision to let Luis Suarez go during the current transfer window.
Messi’s Instagram post criticising the Catalan club drew reactions from teammates, past and present, as well as a number of other figures in football.
Neymar, who played alongside Messi and Suarez in the MSN front three at the Camp Nou, couldn’t help but wade in on the action.
“It’s incredible how they do things,” the Brazilian commented on Messi’s post, referring to Barcelona.
Paris Saint-Germain have sent a video to Ligue 1’s disciplinary commission that they believe shows Alvaro Gonzalez’s alleged racist insults towards Neymar in Sunday’s game against Marseille.
A huge brawl broke out in the final minutes of the match, with five players being sent off.
One of them was Neymar, who slapped Gonzalez after allegedly being racially abused by the Spaniard.
MARCA has had access to the video that PSG have made available to Ligue 1’s disciplinary commission, in which Neymar and Gonzalez are seen arguing and in which the Brazilian is seen pointing something out to various officials.
It is a video taken from a camera that followed Neymar throughout the game and belongs to the Doha-based TV channel BeIN Sports.
It hasn’t been broadcast before now because it is not the property of Telefoot, which has Ligue 1’s TV rights.
Angel di Maria also claims that his teammate was racially abused.
PSG have shown their support for Neymar through an official statement and have asked the disciplinary commission to investigate with all its means if the version of their player is true, given the seriousness of the accusations.
For their part, Marseille have stated that their player is not a racist.
Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo was asked about Lionel Messi, as well as PSG stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.
Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo says the club were tempted to sign Lionel Messi, and has insisted Neymar and Kylian Mbappé must stay at the club.
Messi linked with PSG before opting to stay at Barcelona
Barcelona captain Messi dropped a bombshell when he handed in a transfer request but the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will remain at Camp Nou for the 2020-21 season.
Manchester City were heavily linked with Messi, while PSG also emerged as a possible destination for the 33-year-old attacker.
“Today when you think about the financial situation it’s complicated,” Leonardo told Canal+ program Canal Football Club when asked if PSG were interested.
“When we are told Messi wants to leave, we are tempted. You say to yourself, will it be f possible? They are players completely out of any discussion.
“I don’t know, David Beckham ended up at Paris Saint-Germain, Messi ending up in Paris? I don’t know.
“It’s football, in the end, everyone’s sitting at the table, everyone knows everything, and it’s moving forward.”
On Neymar, Mbappé: “We must continue with them”
There has also been speculation regarding PSG’s star duo Neymar and Mbappé following their memorable run to the Champions League final.
Neymar has often been linked with a return to Barça, while Real Madrid have made no secret of their admiration for Mbappé.
However, Leonardo said: “We want to continue with them. Everything is clear to everyone. We must continue with them.
“To have two players like that on the same team is huge. Messi and Ronaldo were each in their own club. We have the two best players in the world after Messi and Ronaldo.”
Despite leading PSG to their first Champions League final, there has been uncertainty over Thomas Tuchel’s future in Paris.
Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has been linked with a move to PSG, but Leonardo said the French powerhouse plan to continue with Tuchel.
“He did something fantastic. It’s the best season in the club’s history. We have time to talk about that,” he added.
“We share a lot of things, we talk about the transfer market all the time. There is always a conversation about signing a player. Tuchel always validates the choice of players.
“We have a 10-month contract. Honestly, when I arrived, I could keep him or not. We spoke very clearly. I never contacted Allegri. I know him. We hope to do better this year.
“Every club today needs to sell. We made a big investment in Mauro Icardi. We have to be creative. The departures of the players were planned.
“We finished playing in August and not in May. We have until October 5 to recruit. But we have to look at the exit side before then.”
Neymar is the 3rd player to test positive for COVID-19 in the PSG 1st team squad, after Leandro Paredes & Angel di Maria, according to L’Equipe.
The French champions who last month lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich, had said on Monday two unnamed players had presented with coronavirus symptoms.
French sports daily L’Equipe reported the players could be Argentinian duo Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes, who spent their holidays together in Ibiza.
PSG are set to start their Ligue 1 title defence at Lens on September 10.
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has confirmed that he will be staying at the club next season.
The Brazilian forward was left in tears after the Ligue 1 champions were defeated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in Lisbon earlier this month.
The 28-year-old was also heavily linked with a move back to former club Barcelona before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Neymar has now put any suggestion that he could leave PSG after their European heartbreak to bed and also told the club’s official magazine he would like to go one better in this season’s Champions League and become a legend at the club.
‘I’m staying at PSG next season! And with the ambition to return to the Champions League final, this time to win it,’ he said.
‘I like the idea of doing everything to leave my name in the history books of my club.’
Reports in France have also suggested the Brazilian is attempting to help bring former team-mate Lionel Messi to the club as the wantaway star seeks an exit from Barcelona.
Messi sent a burofax to the Catalan giants last week informing them of his shock desire to leave the club, and while Manchester City lead the race the French side are doing all they can to secure his signature.
The news also comes just a day after Neymar decided to end his £78.6million partnership with Nike after 15 years.
Neymar’s switch of allegiances could be bad news for PSG, with Nike the club’s kit supplier.
The French side had an increase in their contract after signing the megastar, receiving €70m (£62m) as a result of his world record transfer from Barcelona.
Several reports suggest the forward will sign with German company Puma, who are the current kit suppliers of Manchester City and AC Milan.
Nike have sponsored the Brazilian since he was 13 years old, long before he became a professional.
There is serious interest in Lionel Messi from Paris Saint-Germain, so much so that Neymar and Angel Di Maria have been in touch with the Blaugrana captain.
Sporting director Leonardo has already met with the Argentine’s representatives to talk about the project in Paris.
For the moment, Messi would prefer to join Manchester City, but that’s not stopping PSG’s players from trying to convince him otherwise.
According to Le Parisien, Neymar and Di Maria have made contact with their good friend in an attempt to persuade him to move to the Parc des Princes.
The pair have played with Messi for club and country, and their presence in the PSG dressing room would make it easy for the forward to settle in should he move there.
Neymar has reportedly asked his club Paris Saint-Germain to sign Lionel Messi, after the Barcelona captain made his club aware he wants to leave this summer.
The pair, who played together at the Camp Nou from 2013-2017, have also reportedly spoken earlier this week.
However, according to Sky Sports, the Ligue 1 champions – who lost in the Champions League final to Bayern Munich on Sunday – are yet to make a formal offer for Messi.
The Barcelona captain shocked the world of football on Tuesday when he effectively handed in a transfer request.
Messi, 33, has not played at any other club and his sudden keenness for pastures new has alerted a number of top clubs, including Manchester City, Manchester United and Inter Milan.
However, United are not expected to bid for the Argentine this summer, whilst City are contemplating a move which would reunite Messi with his former coach Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
But Neymar, who has in the past year constantly been linked with a reunion with Messi at Barcelona, now wants his former team-mate to move to Paris, as the Qatari-owned club look to go a step further in Europe next season.
Neymar and Messi played together at Barcelona for four years and won a famous treble in 2015, forming a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez under manager Luis Enrique.
Yet the Brazilian, 28, moved to PSG three years ago in a world record £200m move, and has won three Ligue 1 crowns since moving to Paris.
But Europe’s greatest prize still alludes him and the prospect of forming a partnership alongside Messi and Kylian Mbappe has persuaded Neymar to persuade his club to plunge for the Argentine forward.
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu would step aside if Lionel Messi agreed to commit his future to the club, according to reports in Spain.
However, a separate report has revealed that the under-fire 57-year-old has tried to call Messi to bring about peace talks but was ignored by the Argentine star.
Paris Saint Germain are looking into the possibility of linking Luis Suarez back up with his former team-mate Neymar, following reports of Barcelona terminating his contract.
Suarez looks set to be one of a number of casualties as Barca begin a thorough rebuild following their humiliating Champions League exit to Bayern Munich.
And PSG will now wait until Suarez is officially a free agent before making their move, according to Spanish publication Sport.
The two clubs have not enjoyed pleasant relations since the Neymar saga, though Suarez would be free to deal with PSG directly should he be released from his Barca contract.
The same report states Suarez has already rejected a return to his former club Ajax, and told sporting chief Marc Overmars as much during a telephone conversation.
Barca are keen to get the 33-year-old off their books and reduce their crippling wage list, given Suarez pockets £290,000 per-week at the club.
The former Liverpool star is said to have plenty of suitors in the Premier League, should he wish to make an emotional return to the English top flight.
Further reports via RAC1 in Spain claim that newly-appointed manager Ronald Koeman has told Suarez that he is not in his plans at all, following a phone call on Monday.
Suarez is currently on holiday with his family but was informed of the decision in a ‘brief conversation’ between the two.
His £290,000 per week contract doesn’t expires until June 30, 2021 and there is an option on that to extend it by another year.
However, RAC1 say the next step is for Suarez’s lawyers to negotiate the termination of his contract and the subsequent pay-out.
It appears to be a sorry end for Barca’s No 9, who is their third all-time leading goalscorer with 198 goals alongside 109 assists in just 283 games since leaving Anfield in the summer of 2014.
Bayern Munich appeared to mock Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar in the dressing room after their Champions League win on Sunday night.
The German club’s players appeared to be singing along and laughing to a song called ‘Hawaii’ which was written by Maluma, the ex-boyfriend of the Brazilian star’s current girlfriend Natalia Barulich.
Neymar was seen mocking the song earlier in the week alongside PSG team-mates Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera and Mauro Icardi, but the tables have turned on the Brazilian attacker following this latest defeat.
Neymar and Barulich have been dating since February, but the Croatian-Colombian model was going out with singer Maluma until the back end of last year.
The singer released the ‘Hawaii’ song in October, which is reportedly about his break-up with Barulich and Neymar was laughing along with his PSG friends with the song in the background after their semi-final win over RB Leipzig this week.
After Neymar released the video mocking Maluma’s song, the singer deleted his personal Instagram account.
But French defender Lucas Hernandez was seen banging a drum along to the song after Bayern’s win against PSG in Lisbon on Friday night.
The French left-back also posted a video of Bayern players chanting club songs in the dressing room, with captain Manuel Neuer holding the Champions League aloft while jumping up and down.
Other footage from Hernandez’s account shows the players singing along to Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ whilst on the team bus.
Bayern lifted the Champions League after Kingsley Coman’s second-half goal separated the two sides in the Lisbon showdown.
Neymar was seen weeping at the full-time whistle and had to be consoled by several Bayern players, including defender David Alaba.
After the match, Neymar tweeted: ‘Losing is part of the sport, we try everything, we fight until the end. Thank you for the support and affection of each one of you and CONGRATULATIONS to BAYERN.’
Paris Saint-Germain can only blame themselves for their Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich.
The French side had plenty of chances to score at the Estadio da Luz, especially during the first half.
Neymar was presented with one of those opportunities, but wasn’t able to slide his shot past Manuel Neuer.
The Bayern goalkeeper also denied Kylian Mbappe, who perhaps should’ve done better with a shot from inside the area after a one-two with Ander Herrera.
PSG star Neymar broke down in tears on the pitch after his side lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich on Sunday night.
Kingsley Coman’s second-half header separated the two teams at the Lisbon showpiece, leaving the Brazilian winger without a European trophy this season.
Neymar was left heartbroken by the defeat, as he was looking to claim his first Champions League title since leaving Barcelona, who he won the competition with in 2015.
And PSG’s main man was left crushed by the inability to drive his team to victory in Lisbon and had to be consoled by victorious defender David Alaba has the full-time whistle.
Bayern manager Hansi Flick also came over to commiserate a weepy Neymar, who was also in tears when he went up to collect his runners-up medal after the match.
Neymar tried to get his team back into the match following Bayern’s opener – the attacker fired a snapshot wide from the edge of the area in his only real chance of the match.
After seeing the Brazilian star in floods of tears after the game, social media users compounded Neymar’s misery further by taunting him on Twitter.
One fan said: ‘Neymar in tears at the end. He should have tried passing to his team mates. Dreadful performance’
Other supporters criticised the Brazilian for his performance in the final with Bayern Munich, with some claiming that the winger did not turn up for the occasion.
A fan tweeted: ‘Neymar got to be the most overrated player in the world right now. Totally anonymous.’
Another supporter said: ‘Neymar crying, tears of joy in my eyes.’
Meanwhile, one fan claimed: ‘Idk why neymar is crying.. next time play properly’
One fan claimed: Neymar is so overrated…. A big game and he went missing it’s all well and good doing a few tricks but the game is about more than a step over.
Another said: ‘Missing : Brazilian footballer. Answers to the name of Neymar.’
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is reportedly at risk of being banned for the Champions League final by UEFA after swapping shirts following his side’s semi-final success against RB Leipzig.
After PSG prevailed with a 3-0 victory against RB Leipzig in Portugal, Neymar swapped shirts with Leipzig’s Marcel Halstenberg.
According to NobleSports, Neymar is at risk of being banned for the Champions League final after breaking coronavirus rules.
Reports prior to the Champions League’s resumption indicated that players swapping shirts after games would receive a one game suspension and would have to self isolate for twelve days.
PSG will take on either Bayern Munich or Lyon in the final on Sunday.
Goals from Marquinhos, Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat sent PSG through to the final.
Although Neymar was unable to find the net, he was still heavily involved as he hit the post twice and frequently caused problems for the Leipzig defence.
Neymar has played a prominent part in PSG’s progression to the final – he has scored three goals and provided four assists in his six appearances in the competition this season.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu insists it is impossible for the club to re-sign Neymar this summer.
The Brazilian completed a £198million move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 but has been linked with a return to the Nou Camp, with the Catalans having two bids rejected in 2019.
The striker has won three Ligue 1 titles and is set to play in his first Champions League final for the club on Sunday while Barcelona have failed to reach a final since his departure.
Reports in Spain last week suggested Barca could reignite their attempts to re-sign the 28-year-old, with the club in crisis following their 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich.
But Bartomeu has now insisted the club have no chance of securing a reunion as PSG are unwilling to part with their star man.
‘Going for a player when the club he is in doesn’t want to sell him is impossible, Bartomeu told Barca TV.
‘Last summer we tried. He is a player who, with the pandemic situation, his club does not put him in the market.
‘It is normal. The big clubs want great players.’
Barca are set for big changes this summer with Ronald Koeman in-line to takeover from the sacked Quique Setien while Lionel Messi’s future remains unclear.
However, Bartomeu remains adamant Messi will stay with the LaLiga side.
‘Koeman will be the new manager and he told me that Messi is a key player for our new project.
‘He has a contract until 2021, I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his father.
‘He is number one in the world. There is no doubt that in Koeman’s new project you can count on Messi.’
RB Leipzig are on the verge of the Champions League final, but may have to rely on Dayot Upamecano to keep PSG’s star names quiet.
RB Leipzig’s rapid rise to prominence in the Champions League has left them on the brink of a European final, with Paris Saint-Germain standing in the way.
Though star striker Timo Werner has departed for Chelsea, Julian Nagelsmann still has plenty of quality players at his disposal, and chief among them is Dayot Upamecano.
The centre-back, who has a brilliant turn of pace and plenty of power, has drawn interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs in recent seasons.
However, for the time being at least, Leipzig have fended off any approaches, with Upamecano having signed a new deal, which runs until 2023, in July.
With his immediate future settled, Upamecano has the chance to prove he truly is worth the hype as Leipzig take on PSG – spearheaded by two of the world’s greatest attackers in the form of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – in Lisbon.
The story so far
Despite supposed interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal at the time, Upamecano opted for Salzburg in 2015 and soon got a taste for first-team football at feeder club Liefering.
Given the links between the clubs, it came as little surprise when the centre-back chose Leipzig in January 2017, quickly adapting to a new country and league with 12 Bundesliga appearances over the rest of the campaign.
Upamecano’s displays over the next year saw him nominated for the 2018 Golden Boy award, won by then-Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, but his game has since gone up another level under the stewardship of Nagelsmann.
He has been a mainstay at the back, making 37 appearances in all competitions so far in 2019-20.
What have they said?
A number of current and former stars have heaped praise on the 21-year-old, with former team-mate Werner comparing him to Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, and during the enforced break in action amid the COVID-19 outbreak, German football legend Lothar Matthaus talked up the youngster.
But for now, Upamecano seems perfectly happy where he is.
“I feel right at home here in Leipzig – the overall package is perfect,” said Upamecano after signing his new contract.
“We had good conversations with [chief executive] Oliver Mintzlaff, [sporting director] Markus Krosche and [head coach] Julian Nagelsmann, which showed to me that extending my contract was the right decision for me to make.
“Our young and hungry team is part of an ambitious club. I want to take the next step with Leipzig and reach our aims, because I’m convinced by the way we play our football.
“I have been in Leipzig for over three years and I have continued to improve alongside the team’s development. I want to carry on developing personally, and I think Julian Nagelsmann is a coach that can bring me to the next level.”
Areas of weakness?
Upamecano is quick and strong, a fine player to progress the ball out of defence – he has made more vertical runs with the ball in the Champions League this season than any other player left in the competition – and is excellent in the air.
The Frenchman is still developing, though, and there is certainly room for improvement in terms of his temperament.
This was evidenced in June, when Upamecano allowed frustration to get the better of him and he received a second booking two minutes before half-time in a Bundesliga clash with Paderborn.
Leipzig were in front at that stage yet Paderborn ultimately claimed a dramatic point when captain Christian Strohdiek struck in the 92nd minute, and team-mate Kevin Kampl was far from happy.
“It was completely unnecessary,” Kampl said to Sky Germany about defender Upamecano’s sending off. “We lead 1-0, have the game under control and then we weaken ourselves.”
Fortunately for Leipzig, the draw did not ultimately cost them a place in the Bundesliga’s top four.
The biggest challenge yet?
Though Upamecano has faced the fearsome attacks of Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, he is about to come up against two of the world’s finest forwards.
Neymar missed some golden opportunities in PSG’s quarter-final tie against Atalanta, but ultimately played a key part in both of their goals as the Ligue 1 champions snatched a late win.
Meanwhile, his partner in crime Mbappe is sure to start after coming on as a substitute in that win – with the youngster, who had been recovering from an injury sustained in July, going on to provide the assist for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s winner.
Leipzig switched to a back four against Atletico Madrid, with Upamecano tasked with marking Diego Costa and, subsequently, Alvaro Morata – and putting in a brilliant display.
But with the trickery and guile of Neymar, and the pace of Mbappe – not to mention the poaching ability of Mauro Icardi – PSG will present an altogether different challenge.
However, if he manages to marshall Leipzig’s defence against some of world football’s most clinical finishers, then Upamecano may well confirm his status as one of the best defenders in world football.
Barcelona are reportedly set to reignite attempts to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain as they look to drag themselves out of a crisis which could cause star man Lionel Messi to leave.
The Spanish outfit have endured a horrible 2020 which has seen them lose their LaLiga title, sack manager Ernesto Valverde and recently suffer Champions League humiliation following an 8-2 loss by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
The defeat leaves current boss Quique Setien’s facing a swift exit, ready to be replaced by Ronald Koeman, but the club know they must do more to keep Messi onboard.
The Argentine has told the club he wants to leave this summer, believing a lack of planning at the Nou Camp has caused him to lose faith in their sporting plans.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu is pulling out all the stops to ensure he can keep the talisman at Barcelona.
According to NobleSports, that means once again trying to land Neymar who is set to play in the Champions League semi-final with PSG this week.
Bartomeu believes that Neymar’s previous success with the club, whom he departed in 2017, make him an ideal signing to help them out of their slump having previously been targeting Inter Milan hitman Lautaro Martinez.
Barca’s financial troubles mean they cannot afford a flat fee for the Brazilian forward though, and it is understood they are willing to offer up to £55million plus Antoine Griezmann in an attempt to tempt the French champions into a deal.
The France international has struggled in his first season at the Nou Camp and Bartomeu believes a return to his homeland would prove an attractive proposal for the 29-year-old.
Barca though are still keen to raise funds by other means as they look to clear out an ageing squad.
Veterans Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba have all been successful long servants of the club.
But Bartomeu would be open to offers for the trio to help raise finances for a rebuild.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi has suggested that Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will see out their careers at Paris Saint-Germain.
The pair were key as PSG completed a late comeback against Atalanta to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.
“Ney, with Kylian, is one of the best players in the world,” Al-Khelaifi told a source known to NobleSports after the game when asked about his stars.
“He’s in the top three.
“Neymar was the man of the match, he was great.
“He and Kylian will never leave.
“They’ll stay with PSG.”
PSG had fallen short several times in the knockout rounds, but they’ve made it to the final four for the first time since 1995.
“We’re going to celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we’ll be thinking about the semis,” the club president added.
“We have to change the mentality of the players, the team and the media because everyone doubts PSG.
“This is a special day for us, I’m very proud of the players and the staff.
“It wasn’t easy after the league was suspended.”
Neymar not only helped drag PSG into the Champions league semi-finals on Wednesday night, he also did something no other man has done in the competition in 12 years.
The Brazilian was the French side’s best player on a night where it looked as if they would falter in Europe once again as the game entered the 90th minute.
However, they turned it around, Neymar involved in both goals as Marquinhos and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting struck to seal a 2-1 victory and a place in the semi-finals.
Neymar had the look of a man trying to do it all on his own for much of the game and the stats show it.
In fact, his 16 completed dribbles was the most by a player in the tournament since Lionel Messi against Manchester United in 2008. Javier Zanetti also managed the same amount against Dinamo Kiev in 2003.
Not everything went Neymar’s way, the 28-year-old missing two big chances in the first half.
However, his performance as a whole was a firm reminder of why he is one of the best players in the world, Atalanta finding it almost impossible to deal with him at times.
Speaking after the game, Neymar told a source known to NobleSports: ‘I never thought of elimination, I never thought of going home. From start to finish, we thought about qualifying for the semi-finals.
‘No-one is going to take my mind off that – I want to go to the final. Another level will come from us.
‘We are very happy, we are experiencing very strong things. We are a great group, a family, with this state of mind it’s impossible to eliminate us.
‘We never gave up, even in difficult circumstances. The desire that I have to win the Champions League was present long before this match, it never left.’
‘There is one game left to go to the final. We will give everything, We will do everything to win.’
‘It was difficult – Atalanta is a great team, which has played well all season and have been the surprise of the competition.
We knew that they were very aggressive, that they pressed all over the pitch. They played really well, so we are very happy with what we did.
‘Now we’re going to rest because this was a mentally exhausting match.’
The headlines about yet another Paris Saint-Germain disappointment were already written.
Once again they had come up short, they would say.
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi weren’t able to see the past the tiny Atalanta, the narrative would go.
But then, somehow, they scored twice in 149 seconds to turn the game on its head and book their place in the semi-finals, sending Atalanta home heartbroken.
Neymar put on a show in Lisbon, even though he was left wanting whenever he was facing goal himself.
The Brazilian led his side and, although the goals weren’t scored by him, PSG wouldn’t have gone through without him.
He was key for PSG and he was responsible for everything they created, never giving up as he tried to break through a stubborn Atalanta back line.
Is he playing like the best player in the world right now?
Mbappe only had 30 minutes in him, but what a 30-minute performance he gave.
Even without being 100 percent fit, the Frenchman showed every bit of his class and his introduction changed the game completely.
He didn’t score, but he grabbed the assist for the winner and terrorised La Dea in his half an hour on the pitch.
PSG came without Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti, while even Mbappe started on the bench.
They went behind and they struggled, but they battled and prevailed – even as Keylor Navas also went off injured.
It seemed as though their jinx was set to strike again, but Thomas Tuchel’s side overcame their curse to stay alive.