Ahead of Neymar’s much-anticipated return to the field for Paris Saint-Germain, Collectif Ultras Paris has released a statement from supporters groups warning the Brazil star that he must be on his best behaviour to win back the fans.
Neymar spent much of the summer pushing for a return to Spain, returning late for pre-season training and attempting to manufacture a transfer due to comments his entourage made in the media.
For example, when quizzed over his favourite footballing moments, he cited Barcelona’s famous ‘remontada’ against PSG. While that has gone down as one of the most famous matches in the Catalans’ history, it is regarded as one of the most infamous in that of the French club.
As such, his actions have antagonised PSG’s most loyal and vocal supporters ahead of Saturday’s Ligue 1 clash with Strasbourg.
In a statement, Collectif Ultras Paris said: “In a footballing sense, Neymar is one of the greatest players of his generation, but that's far from the most important thing for us today. What we reproach him for is being disrespectful on several occasions towards our club, even to have humiliated it at times.
“He has put in place a disastrous communication strategy to try and force a move to Barcelona, one of our main European rivals, leaving his entourage to speak in his place... except when it comes to discussing his best memories!
“At a time when he has made no public statement, let alone an apology, he will soon return to the field of our Parc des Princes, and we are legitimately more than sceptical about him playing another season in our jersey.
“The Virage Auteuil, in which the most loyal supporters of the club are grouped, has the duty to show him that all his actions cannot be without consequence. Therefore, we invite all the Parisian supporters who have felt hurt at one point or another to show him that he no longer has the right to make mistakes and the path of redemption will be long... very long. It's out of the question that we will penalise the team due to a single player.”
Neymar has played 58 matches, scoring 51 times, for PSG since signing from Barca for a world-record fee of €222 million (£200m/$263m) in 2017 but foot injuries have prevented him from being involved in Les Parisiens’ key Champions League matches in both seasons he has been involved.
He had been overlooked by head coach Thomas Tuchel during his transfer saga but has been training for several weeks and is expected to start against the Coupe de la Ligue winners on Saturday