PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino opted to substitute Neymar while leaving both Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe on the field during the surprise defeat to Rennes on Sunday
Neymar has been branded a “spoilt brat” by a Paris Saint-Germain legend who feels the forward has been “lost” ever since he joined the club.
The 29-year-old was hauled off by manager Mauricio Pochettino during the shock 2-0 defeat to Rennes on Sunday.
Pochettino insisted the decision was purely for tactical reasons, while he left Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi on the field.
Messi’s arrival has raised questions over Neymar’s role within the team, despite the pair forming a formidable connection at Barcelona previously.
But ex-PSG star Edouard Cisse believes the Brazilian star has got too big for his boots in Paris and was better off at the Nou Camp.
“At Barcelona there was a structure,” Cisse told Le Parisien, via Marca. “[Neymar] had a cleaner style of play, although he dribbled more.
“His job was to break the defensive line, make the difference and pass the ball to General Messi. He did it so well that he became his ‘alter ego’.
“In Paris, they gave him the keys and they let him do what he wanted. In one moment, he was lost.
“He is a great player, no one can dispute that, but he has become a spoilt brat and he bosses everyone around.”
It was only two summers ago that Neymar was pushing to leave PSG to return to Barcelona, though he now appears content with life at the Parc des Princes, having signed a new five-year deal in May.
His withdrawal when his team needed a goal on Sunday, though, spoke volumes, and did not go down well with Neymar, who cut a forlorn and dejected figure as he trudged off the field with almost 15 minutes still left to play.
Asked his reasons for taking Neymar off, Pochettino opted to sidestep the question, replying: “Like when you win against Manchester City, it’s a collective question.
“The first person in charge is me. What we did for 25 minutes was of very good quality. We must be able to extend this for 90 minutes.
“The psychological impact of both goals at key moments has been significant. I am satisfied in one sector, we have created a lot of situations and opportunities.”
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Many of those opportunities were borne from Messi’s clever link-up play with Mbappe, the latter of whom failed to find his shooting boots as he missed several good chances.
Neymar also wasted a gilt-edged opportunity to score, firing a volley over the crossbar when he should have at least hit the target.
Despite the result, PSG remain top of Ligue 1 and six points clear of second place Lens, having picked up maximum points in all eight of their other fixtures this season.
Yet Pochettino would not hide behind his dissatisfaction.
“Nobody likes losing,” he added. “Without wanting to under-estimate Rennes, we are frustrated and disappointed that we didn’t convert our chances and conceded those goals.
“These situations leave us bitter and disappointed.”