Monday , August 15 2022

PSG’s Neymar, Gianluigi Donnarumma in bust-up after loss vs. Real Madrid

Neymar and Gianluigi Donnarumma clashed in a dressing room bust-up after Paris Saint-Germain‘s 3-1 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday, sources have confirmed to ESPN.

The Brazil forward and Italy goalkeeper had to be separated by teammates after a heated postmatch exchange at the Bernabeu, with each blaming the other for PSG’s round-of-16 exit.

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Kylian Mbappe opened the scoring in the first half — putting PSG in a dominant position, up 2-0 in the tie — before a dramatic 17-minute hat trick from Karim Benzema saw Madrid progress to the quarterfinals 3-2 on aggregate.

The loss sparked a furious reaction from the French club in the immediate aftermath of the match, with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo seeking to confront the referee over what they called the “shameful” decision to not rule out Benzema’s first goal.

Sources told ESPN that in a separate incident, Neymar and Donnarumma squared up to each other in the dressing room, with the Brazil forward criticising the goalkeeper for his error ahead of Benzema’s 61st-minute equaliser.

Donnarumma allowed himself to be closed down by Benzema and, as he tried to clear the ball, passed it across goal to Vinicius Junior, who pulled it back for Benzema to make it 1-1.

The keeper responded by pointing out that Neymar had conceded possession ahead of Madrid’s second goal, giving the ball away to Luka Modric, who drove forward to begin the move that ended with Benzema levelling the tie in the 76th minute.

Neymar responded to reports of the row on Instagram on Thursday, denying that a fight had taken place.

In one post, he published a screengrab of a WhatsApp conversation with Donnarumma.

“Hi Ney. Sorry about yesterday. This news story is unacceptable,” the goalkeeper said, before Neymar responded “No worries! That can happen in football. We’re a team, and we’re with you.”

In a second post, Neymar called the reports “a lie” and said “there was no fight inside the dressing room!”

Sources close to Donnarumma have denied to ESPN that the bust-up took place.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino described the incident that led to Madrid’s first goal as “a clear foul.”

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s impossible to accept. Overall we were the better team. It’s so disappointing.

“The emotion of the game changed. You give Real Madrid belief, and at the Bernabeu of course, it’s difficult to manage the situation. The team was so affected. It’s so unfair. It changed the way the game went completely.”


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