Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel insists Neymar is ‘still his player’ despite the Brazilian missing their Ligue 1 opener against Nimes.
The world’s most expensive footballer was not named in the matchday squad for the 3-0 win over Nimes at the Parc des Princes with Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria all scoring as PSG launched the defence of their title.
Former Barcelona striker Neymar has been linked with a move back to Camp Nou or to bitter rivals Real Madrid this summer, with PSG sporting director Leonardo suggesting talks are ‘more advanced’ over the weekend.
Fans held up a banner telling Neymar to “get lost” and chanted about him during the game, and, while he can understand their frustrations, Tuchel says he’ll stay behind the Brazilian while he remains at the club. “It’s tricky, I don’t know what to say,” Tuchel told L’Equipe.
“I saw it on my colleagues’ smartphones because I did not hear them (the chants) during the match. “Can I understand it? Yes and no. He’s still our player, my player, and I protect all my players.
“He’s in my dressing room. I can understand that not everyone has liked what he has said and done.” It was a straightforward win for PSG to begin the new season but Tuchel concedes his side missed their star performer.
“[His creativity] is always missing because he can find solutions that only he can find. He can open space with movement, an injection of pace, one on ones,” he said.