Neymar told PSG he wanted to leave before Copa America, reveals boss Tuchel
NEYMAR told Paris Saint-Germain before the Copa America he wanted to leave the club.
The Brazilian forward, 27, did not play in the tournament due to injury but did return to his homeland to watch his team-mates be crowned champions.
He then failed to report to pre-season training, leading to a public spat with his club as sporting director Leonardo confirmed the player could leave if the right deal was struck.
The Ligue 1 holders were expecting him back last Monday – but Neymar’s dad insisted his son had been given permission in advance for the extra time off.
Neymar did return to PSG’s training ground on Monday after flying back from Brazil.
However, he has his heart set on leaving the club that paid a world-record £198million fee for him two years ago and returning to Barcelona.
And PSG boss Thomas Tuchel revealed he has known about the star’s intentions for more than a month, with the Copa America getting underway on June 14.
Did I know he wanted to leave? Yes, I found out before the Copa America.
Speaking after his side’s pre-season clash with Dynamo Dresden, the German said: “I am always disappointed when a player turns up late.
“But it is clear between us, now it is between the club and Ney. We work together.
“Did I know he wanted to leave? Yes, I found out before the Copa America.
“But it is something between the club and Ney.”
On the pitch, Neymar did not feature in the 6-1 drubbing of the second-tier German side last night.
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Tuchel did, however, field a strong starting XI with the likes of Julian Draxler, debutant Ander Herrera and Marco Verratti in midfield and Kylian Mbappe up front.
Mbappe bagged either side of Draxler’s finish to put PSG 3-0 up at half-time.
Youngsters Arthur Zagre, Virgiliu Postolachi and Adil Aouchiche all bagged in the second half before Moussa Kone scored a consolation from the penalty spot.