Paris Saint-Germain have vowed to take action after Neymar failed to report to pre-season training, the club made an announcement on Monday, though the player’s father says the French side were made aware of the delay a year ago.
The Ligue 1 champions said they had reached an agreement on where and when Neymar would return to training, and the Brazilian failed to arrive while not receiving authorisation for his absence from training.
As a result the 27-year-old, who missed the Copa America with Brazil due to injury, faces a possible disciplinary action from PSG, who, in a statement, “deplores this situation”.
An official note from the club reads: “This Monday, July 8, Neymar da Silva Santos Junior was summoned for the resumption of activities of the professional group of Paris Saint-Germain.
“Paris Saint-Germain found that the player Neymar Jr did not show up at the agreed time and place, without having been authorized by the Club in advance.
“Paris Saint-Germain deplores this situation and will take the appropriate measures resulting from it.”
Hours later, Neymar Sr. spoke to Fox Brazil, claiming that the club knew a year ago that he would not return to training until July 15 due to commitments with his foundation, Instituto Neymar.
“The reason [for the delay] is known,” he said. “It was scheduled a year ago, with Instituto Neymar, and we couldn’t change it. He will be there on 15th [of July]. Simple as that, no big deal. PSG is aware and participate in Instituto Neymar activities.”
The drama is the latest in a turbulent summer for the Brazil forward as talk of a possible exit from PSG has grown louder.
In June, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi had spoken about Neymar, declaring “nobody forced him to sign” with the club for a world-record €222 million fee in 2017.
Al-Khelaifi added that he wanted “players willing to give everything to defend the honour of the jersey and to join the club project”, further fueling speculatio Neymar could be headed for an exit this summer after the PSG president declared “nothing and nobody is bigger than the club” in May.
Neymar, whose current contract runs till 2022, has been heavily linked with a return to La Liga, either with Real Madrid or a reunion with Barcelona.
However, when asked about the Neymar rumours last week during the presentation of new signing Frenkie de Jong, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu appeared to admit defeat in their attempts to re-sign the attacker.
“We know that [Neymar] wants to leave PSG, we know that, but we also know PSG do not want him to go. There is no way,” Bartomeu said at a press conference July 5.
When healthy, Neymar’s two campaigns have been productive as he has scored 34 goals and has 20 assists in 37 Ligue 1 matches for the club.
Neymar recovered from injury in time for the Copa America, but a subsequent ankle injury ruled him out for the tournament, as Brazil went on to break a 12-year drought in competition, defeating Peru to claim the title in his absence.