Paris Saint-Germain will be patient with Neymar's recovery from injury, head coach Thomas Tuchel has insisted.

The Brazil star's availability for Wednesday's Coupe de France quarter-final tie at Dijon will be determined after he has been assessed at a training session on Tuesday.

Neymar has missed PSG's 2-1 win at Nantes and 4-2 victory over Lyon in the past week having suffered a rib injury against Montpellier on February 1.

He returned to training last Friday but Tuchel is eager not to rush his star man back onto the pitch.

"Neymar is injured, we have to be patient and careful with him," said Tuchel.

"We are going to decide [if he can play] after training."

Tuchel confirmed it was too early for Marquinhos to return from a calf problem, with Saturday's Ligue 1 match away to Amiens instead being targeted for his comeback.

Thiago Silva and Bernat will be back in the mix but Presnel Kimpembe and Marco Verratti suffered knocks against Lyon and are out.

They join Marquinhos, Colin Dagba and Abdou Diallo on the injury list, with Tuchel reluctant to take risks ahead of next week's Champions League last-16 first leg against his former team Borussia Dortmund.

Neymar's return would hand Barcelona a huge boost, according to sporting director Eric Abidal.

The Brazil superstar left Camp Nou for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in August 2017 but has been persistently linked with a move back to Barca.

Head coach Quique Setien said last week he would relish the chance to coach the Neymar and Abidal believes such a deal might be possible.

Asked for his opinion on Neymar coming back to the Catalan giants, Abidal told Mundo Deportivo: "I totally agree.

"Quique would be proud to be able to coach a player like Neymar and the others here who are of such a high level."

Barca have been left short in attack by serious injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, though Ansu Fati impressed with a double in a 2-1 victory over Levante last weekend.

On the effect signing Neymar could have on Fati, Abidal said: "That's why planning is not so easy. We may wish to have all the best players, but we can't make a mistake in the development of players.

"Since Ansu broke into the first team, he's contributed a lot. In the last [LaLiga] game, he showed his talent again. He's a player who can play in many positions and you have to take that into account.

"I think the player is 100 per cent with us, with the first team, and has the goal of staying here for many years."

Barca could help fund a move for Neymar by letting Philippe Coutinho make his loan at Bayern permanent, which the Bundesliga giants can achieve by activating a €120m option.

However, it has been reported this week that Barca would be willing to consider an offer at €80m.

"The information we have is that Bayern are very happy with Philippe and Philippe is also very happy there," said Abidal.

"It's true they have an option [to buy him], but we have to plan perfectly with those who are in house and on loan, and then we'll see."

Another player who could be heading for the exit at Camp Nou is Ivan Rakitic, who accused the club of a lack of respect and was disappointed by the treatment of former coach Ernesto Valverde.

"I don't know in what sense of respect he spoke about," said Abidal, who believes Rakitic remains content at Barca.

"For a player, the most important thing is to have minutes. He's gone through a difficult moment with Valverde, now we have changed coach. It's something for the coach, because I can't manage playing minutes for a player.

"We have respect because we haven't spoken with anybody, and neither has he, it seems. He said he planned to leave but in the end he decided to stay at Barca and if he did that, it's because there is a percentage of satisfaction."

Neymar out of PSG v Lyon

February 08, 2020

Paris Saint-Germain will once again be without Neymar when they face Lyon on Sunday and Juan Bernat also remains sidelined due to illness.

Neymar suffered a rib injury during a 5-0 thrashing of Montpellier last weekend and sat out the 2-1 victory at Nantes on Tuesday, having thrown a lavish party 48 hours earlier to celebrate his 28th birthday.

He trained on Friday, but PSG boss Thomas Tuchel revealed the former Barcelona man will not feature in the Ligue 1 clash with Rudi Garcia's side at the Parc des Princes.

Bernat has recovered from a calf injury, but the full-back misses out after falling ill. 

Thiago Silva is not ready to return from a hip problem, although the centre-back has also been able to resume training this week and the same goes for fellow defenders Marquinhos (calf) and Abdou Diallo (thigh).

Colin Dagba is another player unavailable to Tuchel due to a knee injury as PSG look to extend their unbeaten run to 21 matches in all competitions. 

The champions are 12 points clear of Marseille at the top of the table.

Lionel Messi "has every right in the world" to be angry with Eric Abidal, according to former Barcelona star Rivaldo.

Tensions are running high at Camp Nou following a disappointing week of results on the pitch and an apparent dispute between the club captain and the first-team technical secretary.

Messi used a social media post to criticise Abidal after he accused some Barca players of downing tools during Ernesto Valverde's final weeks as head coach.

Messi felt Abidal, a former team-mate at Barca, was "dirtying" the squad by making generalised comments about their efforts without naming any specific players.

The issue has led to suggestions Messi could exercise an option to have his Barca contract cancelled at the end of the season in order to leave on a free transfer, although Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Friday moved to quash any suggestion he would try to tempt his former player to England.

Rivaldo believes a difficult few days for his old club, compounded by Thursday's Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of Athletic Bilbao, will be swiftly forgotten if the team returns to winning ways quickly.

However, the 1999 Ballon d'Or winner thinks Messi was always likely to jump to the defence of his team-mates after Abidal's "naive" remarks.

"Leo Messi's reaction last Wednesday in which, through his social pages, he criticised Eric Abidal, seems normal to me," he said via Betfair.

"Messi has every right in the world to be angry with Abidal over the way in which he complained about the professionalism of some players in training, especially when he did not mention any specific name.

"That called the whole squad into question. It's hard to talk about this situation from the outside, but Messi just tried to defend the group and himself, maintain his reputation and - at the same time - find out which players Abidal was referring to.

"The latter was naive in saying something like that in an interview that, of course, would have a big impact in the media, forcing Messi to react.

"These types of problems should be solved internally. Abidal didn't do it on purpose but, ultimately, he has hurt the club.

"It's now clear that Ernesto Valverde was not the biggest problem for the club. The biggest loser in all of this is Barca.

"Abidal and Messi should have a conversation, as good people. Abidal is in a difficult situation, especially because the player who reacted to his comments is not just anybody: he's the captain of Barca and a superstar. He's Leo Messi.

"Simply getting back on the road to victories will calm all this."

Abidal also said this week that it was "not impossible" for Barca to bring back Neymar - a transfer Messi is said to have been keen for the club to make last year.

Rivaldo thinks his compatriot, who joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record €222million fee in 2017, would be the ideal signing to take some of the pressure off Barca's number 10.

"Barcelona need to find a player who makes the difference when Messi isn't there or it's not his night, as happened at San Mames," he added. "The club should look for a player to accompany him and replace him when necessary and, in my opinion, Neymar is that player.

"Barca should perhaps continue considering signing him next summer. The club isn't responsible for Neymar leaving a couple of years ago.

"It's been a while since then and perhaps it's time for negotiations that allow him to return and spend the best years of his career at Camp Nou."

Neymar has resumed Paris Saint-Germain training after missing the Ligue 1 win over Nantes with a rib injury.

The Brazil star was hurt during the 5-0 win over Montpellier on February 1 and missed the 2-1 victory at Stade de la Beaujoire, having thrown a lavish party 48 hours earlier to celebrate his 28th birthday.

The forward was pictured training with team-mates on Friday, as the Ligue 1 leaders stepped up preparations for Sunday's showdown with sixth-place Lyon at Parc des Princes.

It is not clear whether Neymar will return to action this weekend or be given extra time to recover, with the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Borussia Dortmund less than two weeks away.

Thiago Silva was also involved in Friday's session, having been sidelined since the 2-0 win over Lille on January 26 with a hip problem.

PSG are 12 points clear of Marseille at the top of the table after 23 matches.

Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal says a bid to bring Neymar back to Catalonia is "not impossible".

Neymar left Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain in acrimonious circumstances in August 2017 for a world record fee of €222 million but suggestions of a return have lingered ever since.

The Brazil star's time in France has not always been easy with injuries and off-field issues blighting his bid to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world's best player.

But he, along with Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, are seemingly on Barca's wish-list.

Abidal told El Mundo Deportivo: "It depends on planning, passports and many things.

"The important thing for me is the sporting aspect, trying to have a stronger team to reach our goals as a club.

"But having talented players like Lautaro, Neymar or others would always be good for the club.

"I don't see it as impossible. We will try to work for that."

It has been reported that Neymar has a clause in his contract that would enable him to leave the Parc des Princes for €170m at the end of the season.

"It gives you a price, but the price would be the same for all clubs. not just Barca," added Abidal, whose public exchange of views with Lionel Messi over Ernesto Valverde's exit means he may not be in the job long enough to oversee summer recruitment.

"The decision is always that of the player.

"If we can do that signing it would be good but we're always thinking that Barca has the philosophy of seeing what happens in the B team and youth teams.

"We always take into account what is already here when we do our planning."

Mauro Icardi and Thilo Kehrer were on target as Paris Saint-Germain ground out a 2-1 win against Nantes in the absence of Neymar at La Beaujoire on Tuesday.

The build-up to the game was overshadowed by talk of discontent at PSG, with Thomas Tuchel frustrated by Neymar's decision to hold a birthday party on Sunday and Kylian Mbappe reacting angrily to being substituted in Saturday's 5-0 victory over Montpellier.

The announcement that Neymar would miss the trip to Nantes with a rib injury consequently proved controversial, but Icardi and Kehrer put the visitors on the path to what looked set to be a routine win.

Moses Simon capitalised on an error from Presnel Kimpembe in the 68th minute to set up a tense final but PSG held on to make it seven straight wins in all competitions and extend their unbeaten run to 20 games.

Icardi saw his first effort in the third minute denied by Denis Petric, while Mbappe had a penalty appeal ignored after going down under pressure from Andrei Girotto.

Mbappe raced in behind the Nantes defence but lifted his attempt over, before Kimpembe saw a header cleared off the line by Abdoul Kader Bamba.

PSG got the breakthrough their attacking play deserved in the 29th minute when Mbappe sprinted beyond Girotto and cut the ball back to Angel Di Maria, whose sweeping shot found the bottom-right corner with the help of the slightest of deflections off Icardi.

Girotto's attempt to cut out a cross from Di Maria sent the ball crashing against his own crossbar early in the second half, but they doubled their lead in the 57th minute when the Argentine's corner was headed home by Kehrer.

Nantes responded positively and Kimpembe's attempt to flick a heavy pass from Marco Verratti to Kehrer was intercepted by Simon, who raced away and tucked a cool finish beyond Keylor Navas.

Substitute Thomas Meunier was kept at bay by Petric in the 90th minute and Renaud Emond missed a glorious chance to equalise in stoppage time, sending a tame volley too close to Navas.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar will miss Tuesday's Ligue 1 match away at Nantes due to a rib injury.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel insisted the Brazil international's decision to hold a 28th birthday party two days before the fixture would not impact upon his team selection, despite describing the event as a "distraction".

But Neymar will not be involved after PSG left him out of their 19-man squad, citing a rib cartilage injury that was confirmed after tests were carried out on Monday.

Neymar played the full 90 minutes in the 5-0 home win over nine-man Montpellier on Saturday, though he had limped off towards the end of the first half in an injury scare following an awkward landing in a challenge with Arnaud Souquet.

PSG confirmed the injury did relate to that incident and will hope to have the forward back in time to face Lyon on Sunday.

The Montpellier clash was a match that also saw Neymar fume at referee Jerome Brisard, earning him a booking for dissent, with reports documenting an angry exchange with the match official that continued into the tunnel.

Neymar's fellow forward Kylian Mbappe is selected in the group to take on Nantes despite his exchange with Tuchel after being substituted in the second half.

Tuchel was unimpressed after the victory, reminding Mbappe it is he who decides which players come on or off, but said in his pre-match news conference he did not think the situation would prompt the France international to seek a transfer.

Along with Neymar, the club's injury list includes Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Ander Herrera, Juan Bernat, Abdou Diallo, Colin Dagba and Garissone Innocent.

Neymar has 13 goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances this season, helping leaders PSG open up a 12-point advantage over Marseille in second.

Kylian Mbappe appeared angry at being substituted on Saturday but Thomas Tuchel does not think the attacker will use it as a reason to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel replaced Mbappe with Mauro Icardi in the 68th minute of PSG's 5-0 win over Montpellier and was involved in a heated discussion with the World Cup-winning France star.

The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane has made no effort to hide his admiration for the former Monaco striker.

However, Tuchel does not expect their confrontation to be the beginning of the end of Mbappe's time in Paris.

"I can't think that Mbappe might use this situation as a reason to leave the club," he said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Nantes in Ligue 1.

"He is one of our players, he has a contract. I took that decision and this is the coach's job.

"It's not personal between us. It's just a thing between a player who doesn't want to be substituted and a coach who has reasons to do so, because he has players on the bench who need and deserve to play.

"The problem is there are cameras, fans, journalists, and a lot of people want to talk about it. This is why I was sad. There were a lot of positive things to talk about on the pitch.

"I talked with Leo [sporting director Leonardo], as we usually do, at 11, after the game. But it will be between us and the staff, it stays in the locker room."

Tuchel issued a defiant response when asked if he made the decision because it is easier for him to take off Mbappe rather than Neymar.

"If I wanted to be a politician I would work in politics. I am a coach. I can only think about sports," said Tuchel.

"I made the decision to leave Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the bench, starting with Pablo Sarabia, they didn't like that obviously. But that's a sporting choice.

"Sometimes it's better to have a left- or right-footed player, but I cannot think about politics. I cannot think it is hard to leave an individual on the bench.

"I am convinced that the players and the dressing room, everyone understands those decisions because this is how it works. I am the coach and have to make hard decisions.

"It's the same with substitutions. I decided that the game was finished. We have the possibility to let Pablo and Kylian leave the pitch and put Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the pitch because they deserved it. Julian Draxler could have played instead of Neymar, but I am not scared. Why should I be?

"I decided that Leandro Paredes deserved [to come one] because he was captain against Pau and played a great game. He deserved to start. This is why I wanted to give him some time on the pitch.

"I know it is hard for some players to accept, but in the end, for me, the only thing they have to accept are sporting things.

"If I start playing politics, I'm going to get lost. Everyone will put pressure on me and I'll only substitute Tanguy Kouassi because he's the youngest."

Thomas Tuchel denied there is a crisis at Paris Saint-Germain but expressed frustration over Neymar's birthday party, though it will not affect his team selection against Nantes.

Neymar marked turning 28 by inviting his team-mates, friends and family to a white-themed celebration at a nightclub in Paris on Sunday, just two days before PSG face Nantes in Ligue 1.

Tuchel branded the party a "distraction" following a 5-0 victory over Montpellier on Saturday, but said as long as players arrive to training on time and work hard it will not factor into his starting XI.

"You know that I always protect my players. I have a lot of reasons to do so because I have confidence, trust and really like my team. With the party, well, I accept the fact it is quite hard to protect players," said the PSG coach.

"But the context is bigger than just saying something is black or white. But I can't think about it for the starting 11. I cannot start thinking about who was there, who attended, at what time they left, thinking about what time they got home. I am the coach. Everybody has to be on time. Everyone will have to train seriously.

"Is it the best way to prepare for a game? No, obviously. Is it the worst thing that can happen? No, but it's a pity because we gave people the opportunity to talk badly about us.

"It's a shame because the team has a very strong mindset and now we need to adapt, but not in the way that I will have to leave players on the bench because they had a birthday party. No, it's not like that."

Tuchel, who was involved in a touchline confrontation with Kylian Mbappe after substituting him against Montpellier, did not attend Neymar's event but refuted the suggestion his relationship with PSG's star players has hit a nadir.

"It's not a crisis. I am not angry personally. I am the coach, they are top players and we need them both," added Tuchel, who said the pair could yet start together at La Beaujoire.

"We need them to win games. We play every three days. They are important and in the end we need to manage players within a strong team. We cannot have a split team. This is football and I'm absolutely convinced that only together can we be stronger.

"I am not angry with them. Sometimes in the relationship between a coach and a player, things are not easy. It's completely normal. It happens, and we have to be very calm, very clear and we have to keep going because it's not a big deal

"I decided not to be there during the celebration. It was my choice and that's it. It's nothing personal against Ney. It was my choice as the coach because it's the best thing for the coach not to be there."

Kylian Mbappe appeared angry at being substituted on Saturday but Thomas Tuchel does not think the attacker will use it as a reason to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel replaced Mbappe with Mauro Icardi in the 68th minute of PSG's 5-0 win over Montpellier and was involved in a heated discussion with the World Cup-winning France star.

The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane has made no effort to hide his admiration for the former Monaco striker.

However, Tuchel does not expect their confrontation to be the beginning of the end of Mbappe's time in Paris.

"I can't think that Mbappe might use this situation as a reason to leave the club," he said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Nantes in Ligue 1.

"He is one of our players, he has a contract. I took that decision and this is the coach's job.

"It's not personal between us. It's just a thing between a player who doesn't want to be substituted and a coach who has reasons to do so, because he has players on the bench who need and deserve to play.

"The problem is there are cameras, fans, journalists, and a lot of people want to talk about it. This is why I was sad. There were a lot of positive things to talk about on the pitch.

"I talked with Leo [sporting director Leonardo], as we usually do, at 11, after the game. But it will be between us and the staff, it stays in the locker room."

Tuchel issued a defiant response when asked if he made the decision because it is easier for him to take off Mbappe rather than Neymar.

"If I wanted to be a politician I would work in politics. I am a coach. I can only think about sports," said Tuchel.

"I made the decision to leave Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the bench, starting with Pablo Sarabia, they didn't like that obviously. But that's a sporting choice.

"Sometimes it's better to have a left or right footed played, but I cannot think about politics. I cannot think it is hard to leave an individual on the bench.

"I am convinced that the players and the dressing room, everyone understands those decisions because this is how it works. I am the coach and have to make hard decisions.

"It's the same with substitutions. I decided that the game was finished. We have the possibility to let Pablo and Kylian leave the pitch and put Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the pitch because they deserved it. Julian Draxler could have played instead of Neymar, but I am not scared. Why should I be?

"I decided that Leandro Paredes deserved [to come one] because he was captain against Pau and played a great game. He deserved to start. This is why I wanted to give him some time on the pitch.

"I know it is hard for some players to accept, but in the end, for me, the only thing they have to accept are sporting things.

"If I start playing politics, I'm going to get lost. Everyone will put pressure on me and I'll only substitute Tanguy Kouassi because he's the youngest."

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has acknowledged his concern over the possibility of Neymar's birthday celebrations being "a distraction" for his side.

Neymar turns 28 on February 5 but will celebrate the occasion on Sunday by hosting what is reportedly set to be an extravagant party at a Paris nightclub. 

PSG - who thrashed Montpellier 5-0 on Saturday, with Neymar sporting a new, bright pink haircut - face Nantes on Tuesday.

Tuchel refused to confirm if he would be attending the celebrations, but conceded he is worried the event will prove to be distracting for his players, while he also pointed out that Kylian Mbappe's angry reaction to being taken off against Montpellier may compound the issue.

"I won't tell you if I am going to attend the party, you'll see [on Sunday]," Tuchel told a news conference.

"It's another topic of the day, Ney's party. That's a distraction, it's true. I always protect my players, they are my players, I love them. I prefer to speak to them face-to-face, if there is something to say, or a criticism to make.

"But Kylian's behaviour or Ney's party are bad distractions as it gives an unprofessional image of us, that we are not serious, not professional.

"But I don't think it's black or white, it could be grey too. I know everyone wants to speak in black or white, it's a shame, it gives the impression we are not focused at 100 per cent. It takes importance when we speak too much about it. So, I don't want to talk too much."

Neymar was also seemingly embroiled in a spat with the officials at half-time in Saturday's win at Parc des Princes, the Brazil forward reportedly questioning referee Jerome Brisard as to why he had received a booking in the 38th minute.

According to French broadcaster Canal Plus, Neymar was asked to speak French while confronting the officials in the tunnel.

Canal Plus claim Neymar responded by slamming an object into a wall and replying: "Speak French? My a**!" 

Quique Setien declared Neymar's interest in a Camp Nou comeback to be good news as the Barcelona boss detailed his desire to keep Lionel Messi happy.

Brazil international Neymar attempted to engineer a return to his former employers last year and, though seemingly now fully committed to Paris Saint-Germain, his future could still lay in LaLiga.

Barca have been tipped to reignite negotiations further down the line and their new head coach would welcome the star forward's arrival.

"That's good," Setien told Mundo Deportivo when asked about Neymar's desire for a second Barca stint.

"I love to watch and have great footballers and if I can watch Neymar every day, just imagine."

Barca captain Messi was among those pushing hardest for his former team-mate's return, admitting he would have "loved" the transfer to go ahead.

The 32-year-old claimed "some people were against" moving for Neymar despite the boost he could have given in their pursuit of yet more trophies.

Setien is hopeful the mercurial Messi continues to feel enthusiastic about life in Catalonia, with his contract due to expire next year.

"I hope we make him so happy that he is looking forward to staying," the Blaugrana boss said in a separate interview with Sport. "He will be here in the future, I have no doubts.

"The talks have been very normal as with any other player. He is very convinced that we can win. He is perceived to be a winner and cares that things are done well.

"He takes interest in the talks. He knows he is an important part, one that can solve many games, but we have to rely on the team to be stronger."

Barca, second behind Real Madrid in LaLiga, host Levante on Sunday.

Thomas Tuchel hailed Neymar as an "exceptional" player after the Brazil star led Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-0 Ligue 1 win at Lille.

The forward made it 13 goals in as many league games this season as he struck in each half at Stade Pierre-Mauroy for the champions.

With nine goals in his past seven league appearances helping PSG to a 10-point lead at the top of the table, Neymar's spectacular form has won the admiration of his head coach.

"He has an incredible ability to accelerate and dribble. He was exceptional at times," Tuchel said on Sunday.

"He's been playing at this level for weeks and has offered us games of this calibre every three days. 

"He's a boy who is capable of simple things and then exceptional things in the next minute. I'm happy for him as this will give him a lot of confidence."

Tuchel was happy with the way PSG largely nullified the threat of a Lille side whose previous home defeat in the top flight was back in March last year.

"We had a lot of the ball in the first period and a bit less in the second, when our counter-attacks weren't all successful. We lost easy balls sometimes," Tuchel said.

"It was still a good game overall that we managed to control. It wasn't that obvious that we faced a very strong opposing team, unbeaten at home, with a very strong coach and a really good atmosphere."

Thiago Silva was replaced at half-time, but Tuchel stressed the change was a precaution as the centre-back had felt some discomfort.

However, the decision to take off left-back Abdou Diallo with 14 minutes remaining was down to concern about his use of the ball.

"Thiago tried to play through with some pubis pain, but it wasn't very comfortable for him," Tuchel explained. "That's why we took him off at half-time. But I don't think it's too serious.

"As for Diallo, he lost the ball three times and that was pretty dangerous. It was better for him to go off."

Neymar has paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after the basketball icon was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar scored twice as the Ligue 1 leaders ran out 2-0 victors over Lille, and dedicated his second goal to Bryant by holding up two fingers on one hand and four on the other – Bryant having worn the number 24 jersey for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following the final whistle, Neymar – a basketball fan – hailed Bryant's impact, stating his death is a sad moment for the entire world of sport.

"I looked at the messages at half-time," Neymar told Canal+. "This is a time of immense sadness for the world of sport and for all of us, not just basketball fans.

"I knew him and I made this celebration to pay tribute to him. I hope he rests in peace."

Bryant won five NBA championships and made 18 NBA All-Star teams during a 20-year stint with the Lakers.

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