Neymar has been left out of the Paris Saint-Germain squad for Tuesday’s clash against Nantes due to a rib injury, just two days after the Brazilian held a lavish party to celebrate his birthday.
The white-themed event at a Parisian nightclub was attended by a number of Neymar’s team-mates including Marco Verratti, Edinson Cavani, and Angel Di Maria.
Neymar, who turns 28 on Wednesday, is known for throwing huge celebrations to mark personal milestones. In 2019, 500 people were invited to an event sponsored by Red Bull, while Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and the president of Brazil were among the guests to celebrate his 26th birthday two years ago.
The former Barcelona forward has now been injured on his birthday every year since joining PSG, having suffered foot injuries in 2018 and 2019 that kept him out for several weeks.
Despite talk of holding a more low-key celebration this year, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, who was not present on Sunday, branded the event a “distraction” given it was sandwiched between two league matches.
However, the German insisted his team selection for the Nantes game would not be influenced by the party.
“I always protect my players, and I really love my team. With this party, I accept that it is a bit difficult to protect the players, but the context is not simply black or white,” he told a news conference. “Is it the best way to prepare for a match? No, clearly not. Is it the worst thing in the world? No.
“It is a shame, because we are giving people the chance to speak badly of us. We need to adapt to the situation, but I am not going to leave a player on the bench or at home because they went out and celebrated.”
Kylian Mbappe is included in the squad despite his touchline spat with Tuchel during Saturday’s victory over Montpellier.
The France international reacted angrily to being substituted and had a heated exchange with Tuchel on the touchline.
“There is nothing personal between him and me. These things happen,” added the former Borussia Dortmund boss.
“It was between a player who does not want to come off, and a coach who had his reasons for doing something, and who wanted to give a game to players who deserved it.”