Clubs, Edinson Cavani, French Ligue 1, Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain, Story, UEFA Champions League


ESPN FC’s Craig Burley shares his thoughts on the latest developments in the penalty power struggle at PSG.
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Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes react to Jeremy Mathieu’s comments regarding Neymar leaving Barcelona to win the Ballon d’Or.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery says he has spoken with both Neymar and Edinson Cavani ahead of the Champions League Group B meeting with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The pair’s spat over a second-half penalty, which was ultimately saved by Anthony Lopes, in the 2-0 win over Lyon on Sept. 17 has turned into a major controversy and Emery has talked to the duo to try to resolve the matter.

“Many of our players are capable [of taking penalties],” Emery told journalists at a prematch news conference. “Many of them also want to.

“Edinson and Neymar are ready. There will be plenty of penalties and both will benefit from that. I have spoken with both of them. I have told them how things will work from here.”

Emery feels that PSG are now viewed more seriously by their European competitors after the signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe this summer.

“I have been on the other side, coming up against the biggest teams in Europe with the best players in the world,” Emery said. “We have taken an important step and become one of these sides. We have more serious sporting enemies.

“The other teams can see that we mean business. There is real competition between PSG and the biggest teams. This is good for us.”

Edinson Cavani and Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar celebrate a goal against St Etienne.
Neymar and Edinson Cavani have been in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Emery said that Neymar is fit and in the squad after missing last weekend’s 0-0 draw away at Montpellier with a toe injury and that Angel Di Maria is in line to feature for the first time since he got injured during the last international break.

“There will be 20 players training later and if everything goes well, there will still be 20 tomorrow,” Emery said. “Neymar and Angel will be there.

“Javier [Pastore] is continuing his recovery. He is getting better. We hope that he will be ready to play as soon as possible.”

Julian Draxler has started to feature more in recent weeks than at the start of the season after working his way back to match fitness and despite reports that his days in Paris are numbered, Emery feels the Germany international remains an important squad member.

“Julian is an important player,” he said. “He enjoyed six excellent months last season. He started late after the Confederations Cup. He offers us versatility. He can help us as a starter or a substitute.”

Midfielder Marco Verratti is looking forward to seeing Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti, who helped launch the Italy international’s career during his time at Parc des Princes.

“He is a very important footballing person to me,” Verratti said when asked about his former manager. “I had just left the Italian second division and he helped me a lot.

“It was difficult for PSG to convince players to join five years ago. If Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] and Thiago [Silva] came, they came because of him. He gave the club added experience. The players trusted him. He helped to launch this project.

“It was a good first year for PSG. We were champions, we reached the Champions League quarterfinals and only went out on away goals. I played often under him.”

PSG and Bayern both won their opening Group B fixtures, so will both be keen to secure top spot with a win on Wednesday.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.



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