Barcelona are set to appeal a €300 fine over their approach for Antoine Griezmann, confirmed coach Ernesto Valverde.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced on Thursday Barca had been found guilty of violating article 126 of its disciplinary code during their pursuit of the Frenchman while he was at Atletico Madrid.

Barca signed Griezmann in July for €120million but Atletico claimed they were owed a further €80m, alleging an agreement between the player and LaLiga's champions being reached before his release clause dropped from €200m

A symbolic monetary penalty was imposed by the RFEF, while Griezmann escaped without sanction. However, Barca are appealing against the fine.

"I don't know the exact ins and outs of this question or how it stands legally," Valverde told a news conference. "I understand the club is appealing."

It has been a busy week off the field for Barca, with Friday seeing the Catalan giants in court with former star Neymar, who alleges he is owed a loyalty bonus from his time at the club.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Barca in the close season and reports suggested the Brazil forward was willing to drop the case if the club promised to re-sign him.

"This never stops does it? In August we were waiting for the transfer market to close, but the Neymar matter continues," Valverde added. 

"I've got nothing to say, it's an internal club issue and for the player on a contractual matter, it's not my concern.

"Has there been a press conference without Neymar's name being brought up? Let's try to do it once this season."

Neymar's Brazil team-mate Arthur was seen having dinner with the Paris Saint-Germain forward this week.

Last season the midfielder was criticised for travelling to Paris to attend Neymar's birthday shortly before Barcelona's Copa del Rey clash with Real Madrid.  

"I think Arthur learned a lot last season, one of those things was what you're talking about," Valverde added. "I think he's fine at the moment and hope things stay this way.

"It's not up to me to evaluate further than him going out for dinner with a friend. He's fine and I hope he stays that way for the rest of the season."

Paris Saint-Germain suffered their first home league defeat since May 2018 as goals from Hassane Kamara and Boulaye Dia gave Reims a shock 2-0 victory at the Parc des Princes.

The Ligue 1 champions, deprived of a host of key players, were well below their best and a spirited Reims side took advantage.

Kamara powerfully headed in the 29th minute and, even though PSG piled on the pressure in the second half, the visitors' defence stood firm.

Dia added a second in the fourth minute of injury time with a spectacular bicycle kick.

PSG were without the attacking qualities of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and the on-loan Mauro Icardi – all absent through injury – while Marco Verratti was suspended.

It meant much of PSG's impetus in the final third fell to Neymar, whose knack of scoring late goals secured back-to-back 1-0 wins against Strasbourg and Lyon in Ligue 1.

However, Reims packed midfield and swarmed around the Brazilian whenever he received the ball, stifling Neymar's impact, although he did go close with a free-kick that curled narrowly over the crossbar.

The visitors took a surprise lead just before the half-hour mark when Kamara netted his first top-flight goal.

PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas almost kept out Kamara's header, from Marshall Munetsi's cross, with a spectacular one-handed diving save but the Reims midfielder's effort had too much power and it went in off the post.

Thomas Tuchel's side dropped points in an away defeat to Rennes last month, and they only threatened sporadically in their quest to avoid a second league loss of the campaign.

PSG had not been beaten at home in league since a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Rennes in May 2018, and they went down by the same margin when Dia got on the end of Thomas Foket's cross and volleyed home in stunning fashion.


 

After requesting a move away from Paris Saint-Germain, who would have thought Neymar could be in line to sign a contract extension?

Neymar was determined to return to LaLiga champions Barcelona but a deal did not materialise prior to the transfer window closing.

Now, Neymar's long-term future could be in Paris…

 

TOP STORY – PSG HOPEFUL OF EXTENDING NEYMAR CONTRACT

Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of signing superstar Neymar to a new contract, reports Le10Sport.

LaLiga champions Barcelona were in talks to re-sign Neymar from PSG after the Brazilian's world-record €222million transfer in 2017, however, an agreement could not be reached.

Neymar, though, has reportedly held talks with PSG over extending his contract in the French capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun says Manchester United will target Juventus veteran Mario Mandzukic in January. The 33-year-old Croatian was linked with a move to Old Trafford before the window shut. But with United facing a crisis following injuries to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez's exits, the Red Devils are believed to be weighing up Mandzukic.

AC Milan turned down the chance to sign Chelsea sensation Tammy Abraham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The 21-year-old has already scored seven Premier League goals this season. However, Milan reportedly pulled the plug on the deal due to his apparent inexperience at the top level.

United and Juventus are reportedly scouting Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, a United scout was in attendance for Tuesday's Serie A clash between Brescia and Juve. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund are also reportedly eyeing the 19-year-old.

Napoli are in talks with centre-back Nikola Maksimovic over a new long-term contract, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Boca Juniors sensation Agustin Almendra. LaLiga rivals Sevilla and Valencia have also reportedly inquired about the 19-year-old.

Lionel Messi is "the best player in history" according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas, who hailed the Barcelona superstar. 

Messi claimed The Best FIFA Men's Player award for the first time, ahead of Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo in Milan on Monday.

A five-time Ballon d'Or winner, captain Messi has celebrated a club-record 34 titles at Barcelona, where he emerged in 2004.

Debate as to who is the greatest player is often centred on Messi, Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Pele, but Tebas has no doubts.

"He's the best player in history," Tebas said of Messi, who was substituted at half-time of Tuesday's 2-1 win over Villarreal due to an adductor problem. "We're lucky to have him in LaLiga.

"I cannot imagine a league without Messi. He was born in the Spanish league and I hope he ends [his career] here."

Tebas also discussed Neymar after the Paris Saint-Germain star was unable to complete a return to LaLiga champions Barca.

Neymar was keen to re-join Barca, two years after his world-record €222million move to PSG, but a transfer did not materialise.

"I would have liked Neymar to return to LaLiga," Tebas added. "And, as [Vicente] Del Bosque would say, to return with good behaviour!

"How can I not like that a player of that level is in LaLiga? Just as I would like [former Barca boss Pep] Guardiola or [ex-Real Madrid head coach Jose] Mourinho to train some Spanish soccer team. 

"We have to aspire to have the best. I hope that one day Neymar plays in a Spanish club."

Thomas Tuchel indicated he will rotate his depleted Paris Saint-Germain squad against Reims in Ligue 1 on Wednesday as he balances an ongoing injury crisis.

Forwards Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani are all unavailable, as well as defender Thilo Kehrer and midfielder Julian Draxler, while Marco Verratti is suspended.

Neymar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are therefore the only senior attackers available to PSG, who are three points clear at the top of the table after six matches.

After sitting out the opening weeks of the season due to injury and uncertainty over his future, Neymar has hit late winners in consecutive league defeats of Strasbourg and Lyon.

Tuchel, though, suggested the Brazil forward could sit out the visit of Reims to ensure he is kept fresh for PSG's busy upcoming schedule.

"It's not possible to pick the same players," he told a news conference. "I'm responsible for the team, we only have two days of rest.

"Then we play in Bordeaux, then in Istanbul [against Galatasaray in the Champions League] two days later, we cannot overuse the players."

Neymar reported late to training on Tuesday but Tuchel confirmed this was authorised as the forward had a "personal thing".

The 27-year-old has yet to be forgiven by some PSG fans after making it clear he wanted to leave the club during the transfer window.

Thomas Meunier, though, feels supporters need to move on from that saga and give Neymar their backing.

"Whistling is not the answer, I'm happy with what he brings in," he told a news conference.

"Professionally he did the right thing, he did not make a story, he's convinced himself that he can still play a role in the club."

Vicente del Bosque prefers Neymar to Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain, even though he thinks the Brazil star's behaviour can cause problems.

Neymar has made an impressive return to first-team action with the Ligue 1 champions, having missed five of their opening seven games in 2019-20 in all competitions.

The forward's pre-season was blighted by an ankle injury that saw him miss the Copa America, and he was then kept out of the PSG side by head coach Thomas Tuchel during an uncertain transfer window.

The 27-year-old failed to secure a return to Barcelona before the transfer deadline, though, and has scored exceptional late winning goals in his performances against Strasbourg and Lyon since.

Despite raising concerns over whether he could ever be considered an "example" in the game, former Real Madrid and Spain boss Del Bosque would gladly have Neymar at his disposal.

Speaking to Cadena SER, he said: "Between Neymar and Mbappe, I like Neymar right now. He does a lot of b******t and he's not an example for anything, but as a player he's terrific.

"Mbappe has qualities to be the successor to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but he still needs to refine things a little. It's a little like it is with Vinicius [Junior]."

Del Bosque was speaking after Barcelona captain Messi was awarded The Best FIFA Men's Player prize for 2019, ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus forward Ronaldo.

"For me, yes, Messi is the best ever, but that's not to detract from Ronaldo," was Del Bosque's assessment.

"Last year, someone dared to claim that Cristiano Ronaldo was finished, that it didn't matter if he left [Madrid]. Messi and Cristiano have no limits."

Del Bosque has been out of football since leaving his Spain post following Euro 2016, where they lost to Italy in the last 16.

The 68-year-old won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with the national team, having previously won two LaLigas and two Champions Leagues in a four-year spell as Madrid head coach.

Given those achievements, he has no desire to come out of retirement.

"I don't miss the dugout. Would I come back? No way - not a chance. I don't miss anything. I've already been in the two best places I could be," Del Bosque said.

Match-winner Neymar believes Sunday's hard-earned 1-0 victory away to Lyon shows an in-form Paris Saint-Germain are continuing to improve.

The rejuvenated Brazil international continued to win back fans in the French capital by brilliantly beating Anthony Lopes in the 87th minute of a patient PSG performance.

It was his second late winner in as many weeks, Neymar having also seen off Strasbourg with a stoppage-time stunner seven days earlier.

The two narrow Ligue 1 wins offered fewer fireworks than the convincing midweek Champions League triumph over Real Madrid but PSG's star forward welcomed the latest success as another valuable step forward.

"It was a very difficult match," Neymar said after the clash with Sylvinho's side.

"Lyon is a very strong team. They defended very well and played with very dangerous counter-attacks.

"Every game, we improve our level. We really played well."

Neymar has now scored twice in his two matches since returning to Thomas Tuchel's team following a turbulent few months dominated by transfer speculation.

The 27-year-old's successful integration back into the starting XI has proved timely given the absence of injured pair Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, who is close to recovering from a hamstring injury.

"Scoring is always good for the confidence," Neymar said. "I hope to continue like that."

The win at Lyon lifted PSG to five wins from six in Ligue 1.

The champions are back in action on Wednesday, at home to 10th-placed Reims.

Ander Herrera backed Neymar to win the Ballon d'Or one day after the forward's impressive start to the season for Paris Saint-Germain continued.

Neymar scored his second late winner in as many games this campaign, leading PSG to a 1-0 victory over Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

The forward was heavily linked with a return to Barcelona during the transfer window, but ended up staying in Paris and has starred on his return.

Herrera, who arrived at PSG in July, believes the Brazil international is a future Ballon d'Or winner.

"I'm delighted to play with Neymar. I will not talk about his transfer window," the midfielder said, via L'Equipe.

"Now, Neymar is with us. He is a fantastic player who can be Ballon d'Or, this season, in a year, in two years.

"We are very happy. I hope he can play like that all season."

PSG's win saw them move seven points clear of ninth-placed Lyon, although their lead at the top is just three points to Angers and Nice.

But Herrera laughed off any suggestions the title was already won for Thomas Tuchel's men.

"No, there are only six matches. I just saw the table. There is Rennes, Angers, Marseille," he said.

"We respect a lot of teams and all opponents. We will always play with respect."

Thomas Tuchel believes Neymar will get even better after another late winner for Paris Saint-Germain, while insisting the forward was "100 per cent" with the squad.

Neymar has quickly put an off-season transfer saga behind him, scoring two late winners in as many games, including in Sunday's 1-0 victory at Lyon.

Tuchel said the Brazil forward will improve at PSG, who hold a three-point lead atop the Ligue 1 table.

"He can still do better. It's only his second or third game in four months," the PSG head coach said, via L'Equipe.

"He can do better and he will do better because he will gain in a physical capacity, but it's Ney, he's always decisive. He always thinks to play forward, to attack.

"We need players like that in tough games like this to make a difference in one-on-ones."

Neymar was heavily linked with a return to LaLiga champions Barcelona during the close season, but ended up staying in Paris.

Tuchel said the 27-year-old forward was committed to PSG despite wanting the off-season move to Barca.

"He has a contract so of course he is 100 per cent with us," he said. "I can even confirm that he is 100 per cent involved with us on the field and 100 per cent in the group.

"He laughs a lot with his team-mates, it's normal for him and it's good for the team."

Tuchel added: "He is here to score, he is there to do decisive things so I am very demanding with him."

Neymar was once again the hero for Paris Saint-Germain as his late goal secured a 1-0 win over Lyon on Sunday.

Having scored a stunning stoppage-time winner against Strasbourg last weekend, the Brazil international sealed all three points against Sylvinho's side with another brilliant finish, this time in the 87th minute.

The 27-year-old – who routinely had objects thrown at home by home fans when taking corners in the second half – collected Angel Di Maria's pass before turning away from Kenny Tete and firing a low drive into Anthony Lopes' bottom-left corner.

The win moves the reigning champions three points above Angers and Nice at the top of the Ligue 1 table, while Lyon languish in ninth.

Tite insisted Neymar is happy playing for Brazil amid uncertainty at club level for the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Neymar was booed by PSG fans during his first appearance of the season for the Ligue 1 giants last week, but the forward scored a late winner against Strasbourg.

The 27-year-old had already played for Brazil after a transfer saga during which he was expected to join Barcelona, and Tite said the star was happy with the national team.

"Neymar is happy. Neymar is happy in the Brazil national squad," Tite told a news conference on Friday.

"And I'm talking about the national squad and to all the people who are near us and know how our daily routine is like here. Because this is a theme of conversation among us. He is happy here.

"We can't control other situations … what I can say is that, yes, he is happy and showed this during the matches more than any other thing."

Neymar was named in Brazil's squad for friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria in Singapore next month.

Asked about the quality of the opposition, Tite said it was difficult to organise matches against top nations, revealing a proposed meeting with Germany never eventuated.

"That's a calendar issue. We just can't change it. We get in touch with all the best national squads. And, when we can't play against them, it's because we've tried but they didn't want to play against us," he said.

"Can I give Germany [as an] example? Germany proposed us a date. We said yes. Then they proposed another day. We said yes again. Then they informed us that they didn't want to play anymore. I'm giving you information."

Gabriel Barbosa has earned a recall to the Brazil squad for the friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria following a rich vein of form at Flamengo.

Since arriving at Flamengo on loan from Inter in January, 23-year-old striker Gabigol has scored 30 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions.

He has been rewarded with a first call-up since the Copa America Centenario in 2016 by head coach Tite and is joined by club team-mate Rodrigo Caio.

The news will come as a blow for Flamengo boss Jorge Jesus, though. His side sit top of the Campeonato Brasileiro at the halfway point but the league does not stop for the international calendar.

Athletico Paranaense goalkeeper Santos won the Copa do Brasil on Wednesday and has been selected for international duty for the first time in his career, a fate shared by Gremio midfielder Matheus Henrique and Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi.

Gabriel Jesus returns to the fold after sitting out the 2-2 draw against Colombia and 1-0 loss to Peru in September due to suspension. Neymar, Richarlison, Everton and Roberto Firmino have also been named in a Selecao squad boasting a wealth of attacking options.

Brazil's 17-match unbeaten run came to an end when they went down to Peru and they will hope to get back to winning ways against Senegal in Singapore on October 10.

 

Brazil squad in full:

Ederson (Manchester City), Santos (Athletico Paranaense), Weverton (Palmeiras); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Dani Alves (Sao Paulo), Danilo (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Caio (Flamengo), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain); Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Fabinho (Liverpool), Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan), Matheus Henrique (Gremio), Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich); Everton (Gremio), Gabriel Barbosa (Flamengo), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Richarlison (Everton), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Barcelona chief executive Oscar Grau has confirmed Ernesto Valverde asked the club to buy Neymar, as the Spanish champions consider whether to make any future bids to Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Camp Nou, with PSG sporting director Leonardo confirming the Brazilian was for sale having asked to leave the French capital.

But despite Barca reportedly making a series of cash-plus-players offers to PSG, no deal could be completed before September 2's European transfer deadline.

Neymar scored on his first Ligue 1 appearance this term after failing to get his desired move, but PSG ultras have indicated he will not be welcomed back to the fray quickly.

Real Madrid have also long been linked with a move for Neymar, with Grau unwilling to say whether Barcelona will continue to pursue a deal for the Brazil forward.

"Neymar was a request from the sports area and the coach and the club did everything in order to get him, albeit in a financially sustainable way," Grau said on Thursday.

"We made many proposals to PSG. They always rejected them. I don't know if we are going to target him again next summer. Planning for next season will be done in the future.

"We would have been delighted to have the chance to bring Neymar back, but the terms always had to be reasonable.

"If some parameters had been accomplished, it would have been possible, but PSG were not happy about losing him."

Barca also missed out on Matthijs de Ligt, who opted not to follow his Netherlands team-mate Frenkie de Jong from Ajax to Camp Nou.

"We made him an offer, but he preferred to go to Juve, where Italian taxation allows him to earn a higher net salary," Grau added.

Angel Di Maria stepped up in the absence of Paris Saint-Germain's first-choice attacking trio by delivering a double in a 3-0 Champions League victory over a lacklustre Real Madrid.

Thomas Tuchel was unable to pick the suspended Neymar or injured duo Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani for the Group A clash at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, but Di Maria played a starring role against his former club.

Despite having Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale on the field together for the first time, Madrid lacked sharpness and were put to the sword by the Argentina international twice inside 33 minutes.

Bale had what would have been a spectacular goal ruled out for handball after a VAR review and Zinedine Zidane's side were punished for failing to register a single shot on target when Thomas Meunier compounded their misery at the culmination of a stoppage-time counter-attack.

Pablo Sarabia appealed for a penalty when he kicked the ball against the arm of Eder Militao – making his first Madrid start with Sergio Ramos suspended – in the first minute, but on that occasion referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved.

PSG were rewarded for their vibrant start in the 14th minute when Mauro Icardi, handed a full debut after his deadline-day loan move from Inter, combined with Juan Bernat, who squared for Di Maria to stab past Thibaut Courtois at his near post.

After Hazard and Bale fired narrowly off target, PSG doubled their lead when Idrissa Gueye teed up Di Maria and the ex-Madrid winger fired a stunning drive home from the edge of the box.

Bale thought he had halved the deficit two minutes later when he lobbed former team-mate Keylor Navas, only for a VAR intervention to reveal the ball touched his arm while he juggled it before shooting.

Di Maria scooped a chance to complete his hat-trick over before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced Icardi in the 60th minute, while Courtois did well to keep out Sarabia.

After PSG lost Marquinhos to injury, Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside and headed narrowly wide with 12 minutes remaining.

Madrid crumbled in the 91st minute when full-backs Meunier and Bernat surged forward and the Belgian slotted home to round off an impressive win for the hosts against the shot-shy 13-time champions of Europe. 

 

What does it mean? PSG in pole position

With Club Brugge and Galatasaray – who played out a 0-0 draw earlier on Wednesday – the other teams in Group A, PSG and Madrid have been tipped to battle it out for top spot. Victory over Los Blancos in Paris handed Tuchel's team the advantage, and when they visit the Santiago Bernabeu in November they should prove even more dangerous opponents with Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani likely to be available for selection.

Formidable Gueye dictates the play

Gueye was everywhere for PSG, dominating the midfield in a way that offered Marco Verratti more creative license. The Senegal international showed great energy to maintain the high press and stifle Madrid, while also adding an assist for Di Maria's second goal.

Militao missing at key moments

When Bernat burst down the left to set up the opener, Militao made no move to get across and put Di Maria under pressure. The Brazil international then allowed Di Maria to peel off him far too easily before he drilled in the second.

What's next?

PSG face a tricky trip to Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday, with Madrid visiting LaLiga leaders Sevilla on the same day.

Neymar was met by boos on his return to action for Paris Saint-Germain and Thomas Tuchel will understand if supporters continue to subject him to jeers.

The Brazil international, who is suspended for Wednesday's Champions League clash with reported suitors Real Madrid, shrugged off the rough treatment to score a spectacular overhead kick winner in a 1-0 victory over Strasbourg on Saturday.

Neymar said afterwards that all matches would be "away games" for him now, having irked fans with his desire to leave the club in the last transfer window.

Tuchel reiterated there is no issue between him and the former Barcelona star, but can see why fans may choose not to forgive Neymar for his actions.

"He did not want to be here. He tried everything that was in his power [to leave the club]," Tuchel told DAZN. 

"That did not help make him popular. You could feel that and I can understand it, if the crowd are angry, even permanently.

"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 fell against his wish.

"Then the concentration and reflection on the task automatically occurs. As an athlete you will not have much else left. You have to give gas. He is hungry and a competitive guy who always wants to win.

"He has to withstand it now, that's the reality. He has to go through, we have to go through all in the home games a bit. The best thing is to come to terms with it."

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