Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar was exempt from blame for his sending off in a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday after head coach Thomas Tuchel refused to criticise a reckless tackle.

Brazil international Neymar was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Bordeaux's Yacine Adli in added time of the Ligue 1 clash at the Parc des Princes.

The 28-year-old had an angry exchange with referee Willy Delajod and then appeared to sarcastically applaud the officials as he left the pitch.

However, Tuchel believed Neymar's reaction was a natural one given he felt the PSG player had been fouled beforehand by Bordeaux's Youssouf Sabaly.

Neymar is now set to miss PSG's next Ligue 1 fixture at home to Dijon on Saturday.

"We have to talk about the whole situation," Tuchel said of Neymar's challenge in his post-match media conference.

"He is nervous and he reacts. It is human. He must not, but it is human. And the Bordeaux player does not even get a yellow card."

PSG secured the points after a chaotic win thanks to two goals from Marquinhos and one apiece for Edinson Cavani – his 200th in all competitions for the club – and Kylian Mbappe.

It helped PSG increase their lead to 13 points over second-placed Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.

And Tuchel acknowledged the win helped boost morale as they produced a positive reaction to a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

"The victory is the most important thing now because there are things to improve, it is clear," added the German coach.

"The players lack a little confidence after a defeat. It's like that. We can see that a lot of teams in Europe after a defeat it's always a little difficult to regain spirit and confidence."

Brazilian defender Marquinhos feels PSG must work hard to improve their defensive performances after leaking seven goals in their past two Ligue 1 games.

"On the one hand we are really very strong offensively, but on the other we concede a lot of goals," he told Canal+.

"As defenders we really have to think about what we can do best. In this match it was mainly on set-pieces. We really have to work better collectively."

Neymar saw red as Paris Saint-Germain moved 13 points clear at top of Ligue 1 after Edinson Cavani's 200th goal for the club helped them to a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday.

Hwang Ui-jo gave Bordeaux a surprise lead before Cavani equalised for PSG with his landmark strike at the Parc des Princes.

The hosts went ahead when Marquinhos chested the ball home but Bordeaux levelled through Pablo following a mistake by PSG goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe both finished clinically to put Thomas Tuchel's side in command, although Ruben Pardo reduced the deficit to set up a tense finish and Neymar was dismissed for a second booking late on.

 

Lionel Messi said Neymar wants to return to Barcelona, while the six-time Ballon d'Or winner lauded reported target and Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

Neymar left Barca for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazil star continues to be linked with a Camp Nou return.

The PSG forward reportedly tried to engineer a move back to Barca at the start of the season, though a transfer did not materialise, despite the club's best efforts.

Messi, who has made no secret of his desire to reunite with Neymar, told Mundo Deportivo: "I say it many times, at the sports level, Ney is one of the best in the world and I would love for him to return.

"He is really looking forward to coming back, he always seemed sorry [after leaving]. He did a lot to return and that would be the first step to try to arrive."

Neymar's decision to leave Barca almost three years ago angered some of his former team-mates but Messi said: "It is normal for people to see him that way because of the way he left, it also bothered me at the time, we tried to convince him not to. 

"But in the end we all want to win and have the best. We and the people. As I said before, he is one of the best and contributed for us a lot on the pitch. But it is understandable that people think like that, since he left in a way they did not like."

Barca have also been linked to Inter forward Martinez as the LaLiga champions eye a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

Martinez reportedly has a €111m release clause amid links to Barca, Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid.

Messi knows Martinez well as the pair are international team-mates for Argentina and the Barca captain hailed his compatriot.

"He is spectacular, he has impressive conditions," Messi said. "He was seen to be a great player, now he exploded and is showing it. He is very strong. He has a very good one against one, he has a lot of goals, in the area he fights with anyone. Lautaro has a lot of quality. He is very complete."

Messi continued: "I wish they could all come and fight it all, and the Champions League. Lautaro has much resemblance to Luis."

Neymar issued a rallying cry on social media just a day after criticising Paris Saint-Germain over the management of his rib injury.

The Brazil star missed four PSG games before returning to score in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first-leg defeat at Borussia Dortmund.

Following the game, Neymar voiced his displeasure at being on the sidelines, insisting he was fine to play and accusing the club of being too cautious.

"It is hard after four games without playing. It was not my choice not to play, the club took this decision," said Neymar, who had briefly restored parity before Erling Haaland's second secured a 2-1 win for Dortmund.

"The club made this decision with the medical team. I wanted to play, I felt good.

"The club were afraid, and it is I who suffers from it."

Neymar aired an altogether different tone on Twitter on Wednesday, though, asking for trust in PSG as they aim to turn around the Dortmund tie.

"Faith, focus and trust in us…ALLEZ PSG," Neymar wrote.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel also had his say on Neymar following the Dortmund defeat, offering his opinion the forward lacked sharpness, saying: "Ney lacked rhythm, competition."

PSG host Dortmund for the return fixture on March 11. Between that clash, the French champions face Ligue 1 matches with Bordeaux, Dijon and Strasbourg and a Coupe de France semi-final with Lyon.

Thomas Tuchel felt Neymar's lack of competitive matches showed and he backed Kylian Mbappe after Paris Saint-Germain's loss to Borussia Dortmund.

Erling Haaland's brace inspired Dortmund to a 2-1 home victory in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Neymar was on the scoresheet on his return from a rib injury, while Mbappe also missed PSG's draw with Amiens on Saturday.

Tuchel felt PSG's busy schedule and injuries to their stars had played a part at Signal Iduna Park.

"We have made twice as many matches as Dortmund in recent weeks. We have had injury concerns with key players, they lack the rhythm, the hardness of the competition, as we saw with Neymar," he said, via L'Equipe.

"Our possession of the ball was not stable enough for this not to be a physical match. There was this physical side to this match, in addition, we made too many mistakes in unnecessary positions.

"We were lacking in timing. We lost a little confidence, and form. I thought it would be a more open game."

Neymar said post-match he had been unhappy with PSG's management of his injury, insisting he was ready to return earlier.

Tuchel, who felt his side played with fear, also backed Mbappe to learn from a difficult outing.

"I knew it would be a tough game for him. He had to be very, very patient," he said.

"We know that the technical relationship between him and Ney is good. Ney lacked rhythm, competition.

"Kylian made an assist. It's a tough game for him, a game to grow. I trust him. We're going to have a good game at the Parc [des Princes]."

PSG host the second leg on March 11.

Neymar hit out at Paris Saint-Germain over the management of a rib injury after making his comeback in the Champions League.

After missing four matches, Neymar returned on Tuesday and scored for PSG, who lost 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund in the opening leg of the last-16 clash.

Neymar hurt his rib against Montpellier on February 1 and the Brazilian star was in doubt for the trip to Dortmund before returning for Thomas Tuchel's side.

However, Neymar – who equalised in the 75th minute before two-goal hero Erling Haaland restored Dortmund's lead – was not happy post-match.

"It is hard after four games without playing. It was not my choice not to play, the club took this decision," Neymar said amid ongoing links of a possible move back to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

"The club made this decision with the medical team. I wanted to play, I felt good.

"The club were afraid, and it is I who suffers from it."

It has been another injury-interrupted season for Neymar, who reportedly tried to engineer a return to Barca at the start of the season, having left Camp Nou in a world-record €222million deal.

Neymar has scored 13 goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances for leaders PSG this term.

The 28-year-old forward has netted 16 goals across all competitions.

Erling Haaland continued his outstanding season with a brilliant Champions League brace against Paris Saint-Germain to secure Borussia Dortmund a 2-1 first-leg win in their last-16 tie.

Teenage striker Haaland scored eight times in the group stage for Salzburg before joining Dortmund in January and continuing to plunder goals at a frightening rate.

He took his BVB tally to 11 in seven appearances to deservedly settled the game in Dortmund's favour, leaving PSG facing the prospect of further heartache at this stage of the competition.

Neymar, returning from a rib injury, had stolen an equaliser with 15 minutes remaining, but Haaland's second effort – a stunning 18-yard drive – swiftly followed, and Thomas Tuchel has plenty of work to do against his former side back in Paris to avoid a fourth straight last-16 exit.

Neymar returned to Paris Saint-Germain's starting XI for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 meeting with Borussia Dortmund.

Brazil forward Neymar had been out of action since he sustained a rib injury on February 1, meaning he has missed PSG's past four matches.

However, having included the former Barcelona star in his travelling party, coach Thomas Tuchel – who was going up against his old club at Signal Iduna Park – confirmed in his pre-match news conference that Neymar was fit to feature in some capacity.

The 28-year-old was named in the starting line-up alongside Kylian Mbappe, who was rested during the 4-4 draw with Amiens on Saturday.

Tuchel appeared set to switch his system, with Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe forming a three-man defence alongside Thiago Silva, while Marco Verratti returned in midfield to partner Idrissa Gueye.

Layvin Kurzawa was handed a spot on the left and Thomas Meunier was on the opposite flank, while Angel Di Maria completed the visitors' front three.

Lucien Favre's team was unchanged from the side that dismantled Eintracht Frankfurt in their last Bundesliga outing, meaning Erling Haaland makes first Champions League appearance as a Dortmund player.

The 19-year-old, who has netted nine times in six games for his new club, scored eight goals in six outings in the group stage for Salzburg.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly yet to begin talks with Neymar over a new deal.

The Brazil international was linked with a return to Barcelona before the start of this season, but ended up staying in Paris.

Yet after claims last month that Neymar wanted a new deal at PSG, it is reported no negotiations have been held just yet.

 

TOP STORY – PSG YET TO BEGIN CONTRACT TALKS WITH NEYMAR

PSG and Neymar are yet to meet to discuss a possible extension, according to Le Parisien.

Neymar, 28, is contracted to PSG until 2022, but there have been no talks over a stay beyond then.

The forward is expected to return from injury in PSG's Champions League last-16 first leg against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona appear to have found their replacement for the injured Ousmane Dembele. Sport reports the LaLiga giants have decided to pay Leganes forward Martin Braithwaite's release clause of €18million. Braithwaite has six goals in 24 LaLiga games this season.

- Bayern Munich are lining up a replacement for Jerome Boateng. France Football reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, who has a €60m release clause, has become a priority for Bayern.

- With Champions League football next season slipping away from Roma, the Serie A club may be unable to sign Chris Smalling. Corriere dello Sport reports Tottenham, Everton and Juventus are interested in Smalling, with Manchester United wanting €20m (£16.7m) for the 30-year-old.

- Two of Arsenal 18-year-olds are apparently attracting interest from Liverpool. Football Insider reports the runaway Premier League leaders are looking at Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.

- Roma are considering a move for RB Leipzig right-back Lukas Klostermann, according to CalcioMercato. Klostermann, 23, has been capped eight times by Germany.

Neymar will play in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 first leg against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

The Brazil international has been out of action since suffering a rib injury on February 1, missing four matches since then in domestic competitions.

He was confirmed in PSG's squad earlier on Monday, as the Ligue 1 champions prepare to go up against Tuchel's former club for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Kylian Mbappe is also back in the squad after being rested for Saturday's thrilling 4-4 draw with Amiens, but the focus has been on Neymar's potential involvement.

Tuchel says he will play, barring any last-minute issues in training.

"Neymar is here, he is feeling well," the German coach told reporters. "He trained today [Monday] and will be playing tomorrow if nothing happens during training.

"Obviously, it changes everything if he plays and I hope it will be a positive thing.

"If we have Ney on the field, he has the ability to do decisive things. That changes everything: for his team-mates, for Kylian…

"It gives me confidence, but also the team. That seems obvious to me."

Neymar has been in phenomenal form this season, scoring 13 times and setting up another six goals in his 14 Ligue 1 matches.

The most expensive player of all time has only played twice in the Champions League this term, however, scoring once.

Lucien Favre says Borussia Dortmund cannot afford to focus all their attention on Neymar as the world's most expensive player prepares to return to the Paris Saint-Germain team on Tuesday.

Neymar has been out of action since suffering a rib injury against Montpellier on February 1 but, alongside Kylian Mbappe, who missed the weekend draw at Amiens, he was named in the PSG squad for their Champions League last-16 first leg at Dortmund.

The Brazil international has made just a single appearance for PSG in the knockout stages of Europe's elite competition since joining in 2017, with injuries curtailing his campaigns as the Ligue 1 giants suffered consecutive last-16 defeats.

But Neymar also played only twice in this season's group stage as Thomas Tuchel's men topped the table and defeated Real Madrid.

Favre is therefore well aware of the other threats PSG might pose at Signal Iduna Park, including World Cup winner Mbappe, who scored three goals against Dortmund for Monaco in the 2016-17 quarter-finals.

"All the players have great qualities at PSG, but they have won against Madrid without him [Neymar]," Favre told a pre-match news conference on Monday.

"Neymar is very, very good, but there is also Mbappe or [Angel] Di Maria. I could count 10 players.

"They have high qualities in winning the ball and going forward very quickly. You play with counter-pressing, but you can also wait to counter."

Dortmund have quality of their own, though, and are boosted by the January arrival of Erling Haaland, who has nine goals in six games since joining from Salzburg.

Haaland netted eight times in the Champions League for Salzburg in the first half of the campaign, and Favre is optimistic the 19-year-old can continue this outstanding form against PSG.

"He adapted very quickly and showed his strengths: his strength and his running," Favre said. "He always wants to develop, even in training. He has a great mentality.

"He has already taken a great path here, even though he is only 19 years old. It's different in Dortmund than in Salzburg, of course, but he also played in the Champions League and scored goals there. I hope he does the same with us."

Dortmund and PSG have had trouble in defence in recent weeks, the Bundesliga side conceding four at Bayer Leverkusen on February 8 while the French champions let in the same number at Amiens in an epic draw on Saturday.

An exciting attacking encounter is therefore anticipated, but Favre – who will be without midfielder Julian Brandt – would be happy to see a tighter affair.

"I prefer to see a nice game, but sometimes a nice game is about good defensive play," he said. "Sometimes I have nothing against winning 1-0 or playing a 0-0.

"If there is an offensive style of play, people are happy – but not always the coaches."

Neymar is back in the Paris Saint-Germain squad for the first leg of their crunch Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund.

PSG have also included Kylian Mbappe in their 21-man group for Tuesday's match in Germany.

Neymar has missed PSG's past four matches, including Saturday's thrilling 4-4 draw away to Amiens in Ligue 1, having suffered a rib injury against Montpellier on February 1.

But after head coach Thomas Tuchel said a decision would be made after training on Sunday, the Brazil star was included in the PSG squad.

Neymar's likely involvement in the match will come as a huge boost to the French champions after the forward missed crucial knockout games against Real Madrid and Manchester United in the last two Champions League seasons.

Mbappe and Pablo Sarabia did not play against Amiens either, but both are also back for the Dortmund game, as is defender Marquinhos, who came off the bench in that game for his first appearance in more than three weeks.

Paris Saint-Germain are determined to stop Erling Haaland continuing his scoring streak when they come up against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, according to Thiago Silva.

Haaland has made an outstanding start to his Dortmund career, managing nine goals in six games across all competitions since joining from Salzburg in January.

The teenage sensation is likely to face off against Ligue 1 champions PSG in the first leg of a blockbuster last-16 tie at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.

PSG centre-back Silva acknowledged the quality possessed by Haaland and is relishing the chance to test himself against one of European football's brightest prospects.

"He scores a lot of goals," Silva told RMC Sport after PSG's enthralling 4-4 draw with Amiens on Saturday. "Nine goals in six games, it's incredible, it's huge.

"I hope that we will be able to be cautious and that he will not score against us, but rather after in the league.

"But for us it's wonderful to play against a player like that, especially since he's just started his career. He is very motivated, but so are PSG."

On the tie itself, the Brazilian added: "Are we afraid? We have no fear, but we have a lot of respect. I saw the match [against Eintracht Frankfurt], they have a lot of quality in front, they scored four goals, with incredible technique, movements that are difficult to fight."

PSG boast devastating attacking talent of their own and could be boosted by the return of Neymar, who has not featured since February 1 due to a rib injury.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel said he would take a decision on Neymar's involvement on Sunday and Silva expects his compatriot to be involved in the first leg.

"It is good, it is good. He had a good week of preparation," he said. "The coach and the medical staff could see his form. Tuesday, I'm sure he will be there."

Thomas Tuchel says Paris Saint-Germain will decide on Sunday whether Neymar will play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

PSG, who face Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Germany on Tuesday, have been without the Brazil star for their last four matches due to a rib injury.

Neymar missed crucial knockout games against Real Madrid and Manchester United in the last two Champions League seasons, with Tuchel still uncertain about his availability for their latest knockout contest in Europe.

"We have had a very close match and we are already talking about Neymar," Tuchel said after PSG's extraordinary 4-4 draw at Amiens in Ligue 1 on Saturday, a fixture the forward missed.

"Right now, I can't say anything in respect to Neymar. We can feel it is in everyone's minds.

"I still don't know about Neymar for Tuesday. Tomorrow [Sunday] we will make a decision about whether he can play or not."

Even though PSG fought back from three goals down in a thrilling contest with Amiens, Tuchel could not be satisfied after his side were denied victory by Serhou Guirassy's second goal, scored in added time.

However, he was pleased with how his players reacted to falling three behind inside 40 minutes, with Ander Herrera and Mauro Icardi on target either side of a double from teenager Tanguy Kouassi.

"We had the possibility of winning, twice we could have scored a fifth goal," Tuchel added to Canal+.

"Of course, when we concede four goals, we cannot be happy. But it was a complex situation and we arrived here not at 100 per cent.

"In the first half, the opponents shot four times and scored three goals, so things got complicated.

"We weren't focused enough but there are reasons for that. It's normal, there is a decisive match coming in the Champions League, and we did not have the right mentality.

"We reacted well to that and we deserved to win, but now is not the time to be angry."

Paris Saint-Germain will be without both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe when the Ligue 1 leaders take on Amiens on Saturday.

Neymar has not played since suffering a rib injury against Montpellier on February 1, forcing him to miss league wins over Nantes and Lyon, as well as the midweek Coupe de France quarter-final triumph over Dijon.

With Borussia Dortmund coming up in the Champions League next week, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel has opted against taking any risks with the Brazil international.

Mbappe played the entire game in the 6-1 thrashing of Dijon on Wednesday, including scoring his side's second goal just before half-time, but will not be involved at all against Amiens.

"We won't take any risks, obviously, but at the same time we'll put out a strong team," Tuchel had said at his pre-match press conference on Friday, prior to naming his squad.

Abdou Diallo, Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa and Thomas Meunier are also absentees for the game against relegation-threatened opponents, along with Pablo Sarabia.

However, Marco Verratti and Marquinhos are included in a 19-man squad as the reigning champions aim to move 15 points clear of nearest rivals Marseille, who are away at Lille on Sunday.

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