Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed Neymar did “everything in his power” to leave the club in the summer.
Neymar was heavily linked with a return to Barcelona during the summer transfer window, just two years after leaving the Blaugrana for PSG.
Why was Neymar booed by PSG fans? Five things to know…
- Neymar signed for Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for £200m in 2017.
- The Brazilian scored 51 goals in 58 games during his first two seasons for the club.
- He was heavily linked with a return to Barcelona in the summer, but no deal materialised.
- For his part in trying to push the move through, Neymar was booed by PSG fans last weekend despite scoring.
- And Thomas Tuchel admits he would understand if the fans’ anger is permanent.
Despite Barcelona tabling a cash plus player deal in late August, no move materialised, leaving Neymar in Paris at least until January.
The Brazilian, who had also been suffering with injury problems, made his first appearance of the season in PSG’s Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg at the weekend.
Starting for Tuchel’s side at the Parc des Princes, Neymar scored the winning goal in the dying stages, with a delightful bicycle kick – but was subject to boos from the home fans throughout.
And Tuchel admits he would understand if Neymar continues to be subject to fan anger permanently as a result of the transfer saga.
“He did not want to be here. He tried everything in his power [to leave the club]. That did not help make him popular,” Tuchel told DAZN.
“You could feel that, and I can understand if the fans are angry, even permanently.”
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
However, Tuchel did also go on to praise Neymar for keeping his professionalism in training, and backs the Brazilian to continue giving his all for PSG.
He added: “Nevertheless, there is also a side between me as a coach and him as a player. There was never a break or a discrepancy. That’s why it was very easy for me to let him play. He has always trained professionally. I feel that the decision was a relief to him, even though it was against his wishes.
“Then, one is automatically focused on the task. As an athlete there is not much else you can think about. You have to give your all. He is hungry and a competitive guy who always wants to win.
“He has to withstand it [the boos and whistles from the fans] now, that’s the reality. He has to go through it, and we all have to go through it in the home games. The best thing is to come to terms with it.”
Neymar expecting more boos
It is not just Tuchel who expects the PSG fans to continue to express their discontent with Neymar. The player himself also believes he will be booed throughout the season, but has grown used to the jeers.
“I understand the fans and I know that it was hard for them,” he said after the Strasbourg game.
“But from now on I am a PSG player.
“No, I do not have a particular message for [the fans]. I am used to being booed throughout my career. This time, I will be playing each match as if we were away from home. It is a shame, I have nothing against the fans.”