Neymar no more? Star could be set to leave PSG
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He joined for a world-record fee of €222 million in 2017, but Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian star Neymar could be set to leave the club this summer after missing training, amid rumours of an imminent return to Barcelona.
After watching from the stands as Brazil beat Peru in the Copa America final at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium on Sunday, an injured Neymar failed to report for duty with the French champions the next day, prompting the club to issues a terse statement.
"Paris Saint-Germain notes that Neymar Jr was not in attendance at the agreed time and place. This was without the club's prior authorisation,” the statement said.
"The club regrets this situation and will therefore take appropriate action."
Hours later, PSG sporting director Leonardo was quoted as telling a French newspaper the star could leave the club, for the right price.
“Neymar can leave PSG, if there is an offer which suits everyone,” he told Le Parisien. “But up to now, we do not know if anyone wants to buy him, or at what price. It will not be done in a day, that’s for sure.”
Signed under much fanfare, Neymar’s time at PSG has been marred by injury and off-the-pitch controversy.
He was questioned by Brazilian police last month over rape allegations, which the player denies.
Neymar is also banned for three matches of next season’s Champions League for insulting a referee on Instagram after PSG were knocked out of last season’s competition by Manchester United.
On the pitch, success has been mixed. The club won back-to-back league titles since Neymar joined, but the success in Europe PSG’s Qatari owners badly crave has continued to prove elusive.
Meanwhile, reports in Spain suggest a deal between Neymar and Barcelona that would see the player return to club he left to join PSG has already been agreed.
Spanish sports newspaper Diario Sport said Neymar was set to sign a five-year contract to return to the Camp Nou, where he won the Champions League and two La Liga titles in a four-year spell.