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Barcelona sporting director reveals why they might not re-sign Neymar in summer transfer window

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Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal has revealed why the club might decide against re-signing Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. Abidal, who has previously played for the club as well, was quick to add, however, that manager Quique Setien might like training the Brazilian.

Neymar has been linked with a return to Barcelona and was on his way in the 2019 summer transfer window. However, the move didn’t materialise and the winger stayed put. Despite the move falling off, there are reports that Barcelona are confident of landing Neymar in the summer.

When quizzed about the club’s stance on their former player, Abidal claimed that 17-year-old Ansu Fati is now an important part of the Barcelona squad and they might decide against getting Neymar on board if it hampers the youngster’s development.

“We may wish to have all the best players but not make mistakes in the growth of the players,” he told Mundo Deportivo (via Express).

“Since Ansu entered the first team he has contributed a lot in the last game he showed his talent again. He is a player who can play in many positions and must be taken into account. We have renewed it for a sports project and we have to assume it. I think the player is 100% with us, with the first team and has the goal of staying here for many years, so we can’t go wrong.

“For Quique it would also be a pride to be able to train a player like Neymar or others here who have a lot of level. That’s why I say that planning is not so easy,” he added.

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France

Marseille at risk of UEFA sanctions after failing to comply with FFP settlement agreement

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Ligue 1 side Marseille have not complied with a settlement reached with UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body last year, the body says

Marseille are at risk of UEFA punishments after European football’s governing body said the French club had failed to comply with a settlement agreement relating to Financial Fair Play breaches.

Last June, the Ligue 1 outfit reached a settlement with UEFA after they were investigated for non-compliance with break-even requirements set out in FFP rules.

In the agreement, Marseille said they would report a maximum break-even deficit of €30million in the financial year ending 2020, €0m for the year ending 2021 and reach “full break-even compliance” by the 2022-23 season.

They were also told to pay €6m, withheld from revenues gained from playing in UEFA competitions, €4m of which was conditional based on their compliance with the settlement. Marseille’s squad size for European tournaments was also restricted.

The club also agreed to restrictions on the ratio of employee benefit expenses to revenue and the amortisation of player registrations.

In a statement released on Thursday, UEFA confirmed Marseille have been referred to the adjudicatory chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) but did not specify with which part of the settlement agreement the club had allegedly not complied.

Lechia Gdansk have also been referred after UEFA said the Polish club “failed to provide the CFCB investigatory chamber with the required break-even information during the 2019-20 season”.

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Kylian Mbappe and Neymar ‘very strong together’ after PSG duo dazzle against Lyon

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Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick in PSG’s 5-1 semi-final win over Lyon in the Coupe de France, much to Thomas Tuchel’s delight.

Thomas Tuchel praised hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe for his response after finding it “difficult” against Borussia Dortmund, with the forward’s partnership alongside Neymar crucial to Paris Saint-Germain.

With PSG lining up in an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation, Mbappe struggled to make an impact during the first leg of the last-16 Champions League tie away in Dortmund last month.

However, since the 2-1 defeat in Europe, France international Mbappe has flourished in domestic action, scoring six goals in three games.

Mbappe’s hat-trick on Wednesday helped PSG progress to the Coupe de France final in style, with head coach Tuchel delighted at the 21-year-old’s display in the 5-1 thrashing of Lyon.

“Mbappe’s been very strong these last few weeks. He had a tough time in Dortmund playing in a different position. It was clearly difficult for him against Dortmund,” Tuchel told the media.

“With Neymar, they’re very strong together. After Dortmund, Mbappe showed a great reaction after every training session and during the games against Dijon and Lyon.

“He’s very strong, he uses his speed very well, he’s very decisive. He’s really in good shape.”

 

Neymar also scored in the rout, converting a second-half penalty after Marcal was deemed to have handled the ball inside the area midweek.

The Lyon defender received a second yellow card as punishment, allowing PSG to cut loose against 10 men. Mbappe added two more goals following his first-half equaliser, while Pablo Sarabia also scored late on.

Tuchel pointed to Neymar as the catalyst for the team to produce such “extraordinary performances”, the Brazilian benefiting from playing regularly after returning from a rib issue.

“Neymar was very strong, he’s still dangerous. For him, the most important thing is that he plays,” the former Dortmund boss said.

“He’s a player who helps us to do extraordinary performances, with extraordinary results. He has to play, and it’s good that he played 90 minutes.

“It is also good to have another game to play before Dortmund against Strasbourg. He needs that, he has the ability to play a lot, and when he plays a lot, he is super strong.”

Neymar scored PSG’s goal against Dortmund but criticised the way the club managed his injury following the defeat, insisting he had wanted to play prior to the trip to Germany.

 

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Gelson Martins handed six-month ban for pushing referee

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Monaco will be without Gelson Martins for the rest of the season after the winger received a lengthy suspension from the LFP.

Gelson Martins has received a six-month ban for pushing a referee while playing for Monaco.

The Portugal international was suspended as a precaution by the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) back on February 6 following an incident in a game away at Nimes five days earlier.

Martins pushed Mikael Lesage twice during his side’s 3-1 Ligue 1 defeat, initially making contact with the official following team-mate Tiemoue Bakayoko’s 32nd-minute red card.

The winger, who joined Monaco permanently from Atletico Madrid in 2019, was sent off and reacted by shoving Lesage for a second time.

After examining footage and speaking to Martins, the LFP has punished the player with a lengthy ban that is backdated to the time he was initially suspended.

The 24-year-old has already sat out five games but will now miss the remainder of the domestic season in France.

Monaco issued a short statement in response to the verdict, describing the punishment handed down as a “very heavy sanction”.

“AS Monaco takes note of the decision of the disciplinary committee of the LFP to sanction Gelson Martins with a firm suspension of six months dating to February 6, a very heavy sanction,” the club said.

“The club once again condemns the unjustifiable behaviour of its attacker, but also regrets the excessive length of this suspension for a player who has never known a disciplinary ban in more than 200 games at the highest level.”

 

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