Neymar to miss Nimes clash amid 'advanced' talks over PSG future

By Sports Desk August 10, 2019

Neymar will not play in Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 opener against Nimes due to an injury according to head coach Thomas Tuchel, with sporting director Leonardo saying talks over the forward's future are "more advanced than before".

The Brazil international is the subject of media speculation linking him with a move away from the Ligue 1 champions with a return to Barcelona reportedly in the offing, while long-term suitors Real Madrid are also said to be in the running.

Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde was coy on the issue, saying only "we'll see what happens" when asked about the prospect of bringing the 27-year-old back to Camp Nou.

Leonardo indicated that a resolution over Neymar's future is not far away, telling reporters: "Talks are more advanced than before, but no agreement.

"We will see what happens - everybody needs the future to be defined."

With Neymar's future still unclear, Tuchel confirmed the Brazil international is not available for the champions' first league game.

"Neymar did not finish [Saturday's] training. It is not possible that he plays tomorrow," he said.

"It is my job to be coach. He is in an individual training phase, in and out of collective sessions. He is still a little injured. He took a knock today and did not do a full week."

Should Neymar leave PSG, Kylian Mbappe will pick up the mantle as the club's leading light - a role it could be argued he already occupies.

Tuchel was asked about his relationship with the World Cup-winning France international, who he said will start alongside Edinson Cavani against Nimes.

"Our relationship is good," Tuchel said of Mbappe.

"Yes, he is a star, but I do not think about him that way. I am always trying to find ways to get him to score.

"He wants responsibility, he is ready and he is mature."

Adding a final word on transfers at the end of a rumour-laden close-season, Tuchel said he was eager to turn his attention to matters on the pitch.

"I do not want to think about [transfers] too much," said Tuchel. "I will lose my mind.

"I am focused on my team and the guys we have here. They need my energy and attention. We will decide if things happen."

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