Once again, Neymar was sent off for Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, as they fell to a 1-0 defeat in a potentially decisive game in the Ligue 1 title race.
Lille visited the Parc des Princes and their win allowed them to leapfrog Mauricio Pochettino‘s side and pull three points clear at the table’s summit. But PSG’s problems go deeper than the current Ligue 1 standings, and Neymar‘s ill discipline has become a persistent problem.
Rushing to get the ball back with a throw in, Neymar pushed Lille’s Tiago Djalo while both were off the pitch, and the Portuguese was sent tumbling. It has to be said that it wasn’t as aggressive as Djalo made out but, already on a yellow card, Neymar saw a second and was sent off, and then things got heated.
The two had to be kept apart by countless bodies in the tunnel as Djalo soon followed in being given his marching orders, and this was just the latest example of Neymar being unable to keep his cool.
He has now been sent off three times in his last 14 Ligue 1 appearances, going back to February 2020, and he’s been dismissed 11 times in his career to date, a total that is considerably high for a forward.
Neymar was signed by Paris Saint-Germain to take them to another level, to show that they could do more than conquer France year after year, but aside from reaching the Champions League final in 2020, he has fallen short of making them any better in Europe.
The manner of his dismissals are more concerning though. His first for PSG came against Marseille, for what was deemed to be a headbutt on now-Sevilla player Lucas Ocampos. In February 2020 he was needlessly sent of late in a win over Bordeaux, and rumours suggested that he did it so he could travel to Brazil for Carnival without missing out on any action. He didn’t travel in the end, explaining on social media that he didn’t want to cause controversy.
In September of the same year he was involved in a heated exchange with Marseille’s Alvaro Gonzalez, whom he accused of racist taunts. In that game, as many as five players ended up being sent off.
Now, as is the case every time he sees red or PSG fall short in Europe, Neymar is being linked with a return to Barcelona, where he was sent off just once.
His talent is undoubted, but his disciplinary problems pose serious questions about his career, and will always be a black mark against him.