Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have forged a strong bond since joining Paris Saint-Germain in record-breaking transfers during the summer of 2017, but could their bromance in the French capital be over?
There were signs of cracks starting to form during a Ligue 1 outing against Montpellier on Saturday, with Mbappe – who was substituted late on – caught on camera questioning the actions of his Brazilian team-mate
L’Equipe claims that Neymar was branded a “tramp” by his disgruntled team-mate, but is that really what was said and could a productive working relationship at PSG break beyond repair?
What did Kylian Mbappe say?
The World Cup winner was replaced in the 88th minute of a 2-0 victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s side that has maintained their 100 per cent start to the Ligue 1 campaign.
After Mbappe had taken a seat on the bench, he was captured having a heated discussion with Idrissa Gueye.
The 22-year-old can clearly be seen mouthing the words “he doesn’t give me the pass”, while gesturing in the general direction of those still on the pitch.
Did Kylian Mbappe call Neymar a ‘tramp’?
There is some debate about what Mbappe actually said and it is not clear who exactly he was directing his annoyance at.
While L’Equipe believes Mbappe referred to Neymar as a “tramp” (‘clochard‘ in French) before bemoaning a supposed reluctance to pass the ball in his direction, others are not so sure.
Alternative reports state that Mbappe said “when it’s me, he doesn’t give me the pass” or “I’m all alone, he doesn’t give me the pass”, rather than “this tramp, he doesn’t give me the pass”.
Mbappe and Neymar did spend much of their time together against Montpellier getting in each other’s way, with a star-studded attacking unit in Paris not yet firing on all cylinders.
Frustration is to be expected, with Lionel Messi set to be introduced back into PSG’s frontline once he is fully recovered from a minor knee problem.
Mbappe – who continues to see a move elsewhere mooted as he runs down the final year of his contract – was left less than impressed on Saturday, with his comments about Neymar coming on the back of an 89th-minute goal for Julian Draxler that was teed up by the South American superstar.
Has the incident blown over?
Mbappe and Neymar have discussed their differences in the wake of another domestic victory for PSG with any issues between the pair being ironed out, according to Pochettino at his press conference on Monday.
Pochettino said: “They are amazing boys and great competitors. They talked to each other after the game and I talked to them too. You saw that they were laughing in training on Monday. Often this kind of situation makes noise but it does not reflect reality.”
Team mate Ander Herrera also played down the incident, saying: “As soon as I arrived at the club, I could see the link between Ney and Kylian and it is something that has not changed.
“In a match everyone wants to score or make an assist, sometimes it just doesn’t happen, it’s like that. Sometimes there are things that come out that are not true. I am there every day when I hear certain news it amuses me.
“Since I have been here I realise that they have a special connection and nothing has changed. In all matches there are special situations but after that we talk to each other and are friends.”
Mbappe and Neymar were back in training on Monday, alongside the returning Messi, and could indeed be seen laughing and joking together.
Pochettino will certainly be hoping that he has no long-lasting feud to contend with as PSG are due back in action on Tuesday when playing host to Premier League title holders Manchester City in the Champions League.