Neymar has risked reigniting his war of words with Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe, despite Lionel Messi acting as a mediator to help quell their feud.
Neymar shared a post on social media that congratulated Karim Benzema on winning his maiden Ballon d’Or crown, but was also critical of how his Brazilian teammate Vinicius Junior missed out on a podium finish. He said: “Benzema deserved it. But for Vini, being 8th is not possible. He should at least be in the top three.”
Vinicius finished two places behind Neymar’s PSG teammate Mbappe – yet the 30-year-old believes his fellow forward should have finished lower down the rankings, as he was not referenced in his analysis of the leading players. Mbappe and Neymar fell out over the order of penalty-takers earlier this season in a Ligue 1 clash as the fractious relationship between the two came to light.
Mbappe – who was booed by fans at this week’s Ballon d’Or awards in Paris after reports emerged that he wants to leave the club – and Neymar had personally clashed, with former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos reportedly forced to step in to separate the feuding pair and boss Christophe Galtier staging a first-team meeting in which the two were rebuked.
Messi acted as a mediator to help quell the ongoing discontent with reports suggesting that the Argentine recognised that such a clash of egos risked derailing the club’s season – despite being on course to retain their Ligue 1 title, as they aim to win their first ever Champions League crown.
That however has appeared to be unsuccessful, with no sign that there has been a genuine reconciliation process between the two. The latest comments in relation to the Ballon d’Or come amid fresh questions over Mbappe’s future in Paris after he questioned his role in PSG’s team.
Mbappe had claimed he is allowed to play with “much more freedom” with France than with Paris Saint-Germain – as he preferred playing off a central striker with Olivier Giroud in the France set-up as opposed to being used in that position at club level. In Sunday’s win over Marseille, Mbappe did notably play more to the left with Neymar through the middle – and the two embraced after combining for the only goal of the game.
From PSG‘s perspective, the two are no longer openly sparring with each other. Neymar went on to ‘like’ two social posts that slammed Mbappe over the penalty episode in August, including a post that said the Frenchman “controlled” the club. That comment was within the context of reports claiming that Mbappe would hold great sway in the club’s sporting decisions as part of his new three-year contract extension with the Ligue 1 champions.
It has been reported that the two came to a mutual agreement not to discuss each other publicly at the behest of their club, but this appears to be a compromise which may only put a sticking plaster on their delicate situation.