Neymar returns but Dani Alves suffers World Cup heartache - Ligue 1 goes social

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The Brazil star returned to the French capital and was also named the league's player of the year, but his compatriot suffered a hammer-blow

The season might not quite be over, but it was party time in Paris on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain may have lost 2-0 at home to Rennes, thereby ending an unbeaten domestic record at Parc des Princes that stretched nearly a year, but Unai Emery’s side had already done the hard work to complete a clean sweep of the domestic honours.

Neymar might not have been able to take his place on the field, but the Brazil star was able to join in the celebrations after returning to France last week following a period of recuperation from injury in his homeland.

He was able to celebrate the achievement of his team-mates at close quarters and posted a picture of celebration to his Instagram feed.

 

Ligue 1 🏆⚽️👏🏽

A post shared by Nj 🇧🇷 👻 neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

Earlier in the week, of course, PSG had scooped the Coupe de France. Third-tier minnows Les Herbiers put up a strong fight and only went down 2-0 in the final at Stade de France.

While PSG had the luxury of a largely meaningless weekend game against Rennes, their opponents were thrust back into a relegation battle, which they ultimately lost, dropping several places in a dramatic Friday night to plunge to the fourth tier.

Captain Sebastien Flochon was invited to lift the trophy in midweek along with Thiago Silva, which will be an achievement that will live forever in the history of the Vendee side.

On the other side of the coin, though, was the joy felt by the Parisian side, who have now won the trophy in each of the last four years.

However, it was Kylian Mbappe’s first taste of glory in the competition and he was clearly eager to enjoy it.

 

COUPE DE FRANCE 🇫🇷🏆😆

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

 

LIGUE 1 ✅🏆 @NeymarJr

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

 

ICI C’EST P4RIS 🔴🔵

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

The summer signing from Monaco, however, had already claimed the league last season but that did not stop him spreading the joy to his followers on social media.

While the teenager achieved team glory, he also had a taste of individual success, too. Having scored 13 times in Ligue 1 this season, he was named as the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, beaten to the top prize by Neymar while Unai Emery won Coach of the Year.

For Mbappe, though, it completed a unique double.

“Very happy to be named the Best Young Player in Ligue 1 for the season successive year,” he told his Twitter followers.

Elsewhere, the news has not been so good for PSG, who have lost defender Dani Alves due to a serious knee injury for six months. Initial reports suggested that he would be back for the World Cup, but the former Barcelona man has been forced to undergo surgery.

Nevertheless, he has faced the disappointment with typical bravery.

In a video posted to his Instagram page, he thanked fans for their support and assured them that his “soul is at peace”.

“I won’t be able to help from the inside, but I’ll be supporting from the outside,” he promised his Brazil team-mates ahead of the World Cup.

 

Obrigado!! #foreverGoodCrazy🎬 By @tptglobal @playerstribune

A post shared by DanialvesD2 My Twitter (@danialves) on

Neymar has approached his recovery with similar determination and posted to his followers on Monday: “God turns tears into smile, pain into strength, weakness into faith and dreams into reality. Focus on the goal.”

He will, of course, be present in Russia, though.

One man who definitely will not is Italy striker Mario Balotelli, who likely played his last home match with Nice on Saturday. He scored the opening two goals in his side's 4-1 win over Caen.

With exam season looming, he posted a very apt picture on Instagram captioned: “When you are at school and the teacher tells you that you don’t study enough but at the final test you excel.”

Mario has certainly been doing that this season.

Memphis Depay’s Lyon, meanwhile, will need to lift themselves for their final examination of the season, having lost 3-2 to Strasbourg in a dramatic encounter.

OL now need maximum points against Balotelli’s Nice next weekend if they are to secure a place in the Champions League next season.

“Received a lot of hugs tonight!” he joked of the physical treatment he got in Alsace. “Poor result, let’s focus on the last game of the season.”

It was not the outcome that Lyon wanted, but for the neutral it sets up a thrilling final day, with OL, Monaco and Marseille all chasing the top three.

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