Real life Super Mario Kart, Evra’s happy place and Mbappe still smiling – Ligue 1 goes social

It’s been an eventful international break for Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian players.

On the whole, there was joy as their national side finished off a fine World Cup qualifying campaign comfortably top of the South American pool, but Thiago Silva picked up an injury that prevented him from playing in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dijon.

One man who has enjoyed his time with his country, however, is Neymar. He may not have scored in a draw against Bolivia or the 3-0 win over Chile, but he has been impressed with the manner in which the team is shaping up before Russia and took to Instagram to explain just how much it means to be part of the squad.


Feliz demais por ter alcançado nosso objetivo e muito mais feliz por fazer parte desse grupo… parabéns a todos que participaram dessa classificação!! #PartiuRussia

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“So happy to have achieved our goal and much happier to be part of this squad. Congratulations to all who played their part in this,” he said.

This was a sentiment echoed by club-mate Dani Alves, who has been part of the national squad for well over a decade and is still going strong at 34 years old. 

“Life teaches us that persistence in everything we do has its reward. Congratulations guys, and thank you to all who have never stopped believing in us… It will always be an honour and we will always strive to do our best to represent our country,” he said.


A vida nos ensina que a persistência em tudo que fazemos tem a sua recompensa. Parabéns rapaziada e obrigado a todos que nunca deixaram de acreditar em nós… cada vez que vestimos essa camisa creiam todos ou não, será sempre uma honra e Buscaremos fazer sempre o nosso melhor para representar como se deve o nosso país. #goodcrazymuitofeliz

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He remained equally upbeat after PSG struggled past Dijon at the weekend.

With numerous injury problems, Unai Emery had to shuffle his pack, leading to Alves playing in a midfield role. His side struggled but were let out of jail by Thomas Meunier, whose rich run for club and country continued as he scored twice.

However, Dani Alves was eager to block out critics of the display and instead focus on the future. “The silence of intelligence lies in not listening to the noise of mediocrity,” he posted in typically philosophical style.


Para alcançar alguma coisa na vida, seja ela o que for, tens que ter comprometimento, tens que ter amor, tens que está disposto pagar o preço. O final é muito bom se a caminha valer a pena….. o silêncio da inteligência está em não escutar o barulho da mediocridade. #goodcrazy

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Kylian Mbappe was happy to make light of the performance, even after a frustrating afternoon personally, with goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet persistently foiling him.

“Hey PSG, let’s pretend you didn’t see the chances I missed,” he joked on social media.


?Victoire 2-1 contre Dijon? ? PS: Hey la #TeamPSG , on fera comme si on avait pas vu les occasions ratées ?

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??Neymar was another man to have a frustrating afternoon at Stade Gaston Gerrard, albeit after a hectic schedule of travelling.

During this, he took time to wish those in his homeland Happy Children’s Day, posting a picture of himself as a youth to mark the event.


Feliz dia das crianças

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Not all of Ligue 1’s stars were slugging away on international duty.

Despite a promising start to the season, Mario Balotelli continues to be frozen out by Italy, but at least that allowed him some time out to try his hand at some real life Super Mario Kart – with some hilarious results. He’s hinted that there’s more to come – we can only look forward to it.


Coming soon

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Patrice Evra, meanwhile, has probably been doing something a little more sedate. He revealed on Instagram his love of meditation and the effects that it has had on his life.

“Since 2014 I started meditation. It’s really helpful for yourself to see the world in different ways… keep the positive vibes like I always said I respect every religion, but first try to be the best human being you can, from there you will choose the religion that suits you the most – or maybe not any of them…”


Since 2014 I started #meditation it’s really helpful for yourself to see the world in different ways… keep the #positivevibes like I always said I #respect every religions but first try to be the best human being you can, from there you will choose the religion suit you the most or maybe not any of them…#world #religion #meditation #ilovethisgame #beapanda #lifestyle #peace #clarity

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The veteran defender offered his well wishes to England and Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton, who enjoyed his 80th birthday last week.

“When a legend call you LEGEND and telling me you are one of my favorite one what else..? I love this game,” he wrote.


When a #legend call you LEGEND and telling me you are one of my favorite one what else..?I love this game good luck tomorrow guys #bobbycharlton @manchesterunited #united #forevrared #ilovethisgame #manutd @manunitedzone #sirbobbycharlton

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Both Balotelli and Evra had frustrating Sundays, though.

The striker’s Nice side lost 2-0 to Montpellier, while Marseille had to settle for a 3-3 draw at Nice. With the Europa League to come on Thursday, both will seek for rapid redemption.


Neymar storms fashion week – Ligue 1 goes social

Neymar is the hottest name in France at the moment, so it was only natural that he was one of the biggest movers and shakers at Paris Fashion Week, which has been ongoing for women’s clothing in recent days.

The Brazilian is the face that everyone wants to be associated with their brand and as such has been highly visible away from the field.


???? #pfw2017

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While he has clearly been enjoying himself socially – his father told Canal+ on Sunday that the player “loves everything about Paris” – he has continued to excel on the field.

His Paris Saint-Germain side produced arguably their two best performances of their season as they brushed aside Bayern Munich 3-0 in the Champions League then obliterated Bordeaux 6-2 at the weekend.

Following the win over the Germans, he posted a picture of himself celebrating a goal with Fashion Week buddy Dani Alves and commented: “Focus, Strength and Faith .. that’s what keeps you alive.”


Foco, Força e Fé .. isso é que te mantém vivo ?? Focus, Strength and Faith .. that’s what keeps you alive ??

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“Great victory today, congratulations team! Thanks for the hug “golden boy” @k.mbappe29,” Neymar posted after the latter success on Saturday.


Grande vitória hoje, parabéns equipe ! Obrigado pelo abraço “menino de ouro” @k.mbappe29 ??? Great victory today, congratulations team! Thanks for the hug “golden boy” @k.mbappe29 ???

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‘The Golden Boy’ has, of course, become another instant favourite at Parc des Princes.

Born in Paris, he has taken to playing for Unai Emery’s side like a natural and, of course, is another great media draw. He might not yet command quite the same attention as Neymar, but he showed he can command a bit of swagger when it comes to the catwalk, too.


It’s Time ???

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The 18-year-old was also on the scoresheet in the thumping success over Bordeaux and offered a message of solidarity to France team-mate Benjamin Mendy, who had a serious knee ligament injury confirmed this week.

After finding the net against Bordeaux, he held up two fingers from each hand, which was a nod to the Manchester City player’s squad number.


Victoire 6-2 contre Bordeaux ??. Force BM22 ???? @benmendy23

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“6-2 win over Bordeaux. Be strong BM22,” he wrote.

While it was a good week all-round for PSG, it was a mixed week for Mario Balotelli, whose Nice side continued to make waves in the Europa League by beating Vitesse at home but who crashed to a 4-2 home loss to Marseille in Ligue 1.


@ogcnice ??? #issanissa #relax??

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The Italian, who said that he needs a coach who “breaks his balls” to get the best from him this week, was on target after only four minutes in the derby against OM, but his side eventually slumped to defeat.

Patrice Evra, who had started Marseille’s midweek defeat at the hands of RB Salzburg, did not, however, feature in that game as he continues to face an uphill battle for a starting spot, with Jordan Amavi preferred to him. However, the upbeat veteran was delighted with the impact he has made on social media, having hit the milestone of 3 million followers.


MASSIVE THANK ??????It’s been only 1year 4months I have been on Instagram… i have already spread all around the #world ?my I LOVE THIS GAME! Moto. ?We reached 3 million #followers together #sharing #love and #happiness and being #funny #smile and #crazy sometimes, ?????but we still need to #spread the #message Unfortunately in my country there a few spreading negativity instead of positivity but I’ve got #hope and #faith that together we can make everyone love this game! No grumpiness allowed. If you want to be grumpy please don’t use my Instagram to spread your negativity???always love this game!!!???#ilovethisgame #goodvibes #positivevibes #motivation #beapanda

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Evra still wants more from his social media account, while the Marseille will be hoping he can show more on the field.


Balotelli admits he needs managers to ‘break his balls’

Mario Balotelli says managers need to “break his balls” in order to bring the best out of his enigmatic talent.

The Italian striker, who is currently with Ligue 1 side Nice having previously represented Inter, Manchester City, Milan and Liverpool, has posed plenty of questions to his many bosses down the years.

Nice 17/2 to beat Marseille 1-0

Some have been able to eke talismanic efforts out of him, with his form returning during an impressive debut campaign in France last season.

The 27-year-old is clearly a fan of Lucien Favre’s methods, with it important for him to feel “angry” if he is to produce the performance levels expected of him.

Balotelli told Nice’s official matchday programme ahead of a meeting with Marseille when asked how he would look to handle a player such as himself: “I would try to limit my compliments. Instead, try to break his balls, because I know when all seems calm, it’s a problem.

“When someone treads on my toes, then I get angry and I do more. It’s important to learn from your mistakes.”

After netting 17 times in all competitions last season – his best return for three years – Balotelli saw a short-term contract come to an end.

Various clubs were reported to have expressed an interest in taking him on, but he eventually committed to another one-year deal with Nice and has gone on to net six times in eight appearances this term.

“I stayed because I feel happy here, it’s that simple,” added Balotelli.

“I am happy with my teammates, the supporters, the coach. When I signed the first time, I didn’t know how I’d feel here. It was a surprise, but I’m happy. Plus it’s a good project.

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“This summer, we all had the objective of the Champions League in our minds and we wanted to go for it, or at least qualify for the Europa League.”

Nice failed to make the group stage of the Champions League, but have collected back-to-back victories in their two Europa League games to date.

They have also recovered from a slow opening to their Ligue 1 campaign to collect seven points from their last three fixtures.


Dani Alves rescues lost dog & Evra befriends a camel – animal-loving Ligue 1 goes social

Rather than events on the football field, the social media post that has caught the attention most in France this week came from Dani Alves.

The Brazil star might have been left out of the starting XI of Paris Saint-Germain’s forgettable 0-0 draw with Montpellier on Saturday, but he still managed to hit the headlines domestically when he took to Instagram to make an appeal for a lost dog.

“I lost my beautiful doggie around Malmaison Forest (Paris)… her name is Mari… please let me know if you find her. She is my life,” the former Barcelona and Juventus full-back posted.


#Repost @joanasanz (@get_repost) ??? I lost my beautiful doggie ???? around Malmaison Forest (Paris)… her name is Mari… please let me know if you find her ?? she is my life ?

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Many publications instantly jumped to the conclusion that Alves had lost his dog, but they missed the fact he had advertised that he was posting on behalf of Brazilian model Joana Sanz.

Thankfully, the story had a happy ending as Mari was returned to her owner, who posted a video of herself reunited with her pet, albeit three days later.


I can’t believe that my beautiful mouse is here with me ?thank you so much @emmaben77 for your help in France, I had never met someone like you at work… you are super nice and incredible person ?? muchas gracias @sulidominguez por contactar con todas las paginas de animales perdidos en Francia…. nunca me habría esperado una ayuda tan perseverante de una persona que casi no veo, te quedas grabada en mi ? and thanks a lot to all people worried for me? #mariathome #blessed

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There was more good news for Dani Alves earlier in the week, as he was nominated for the FIFPro World 11 along with club and international team-mate Neymar. If the striker was quiet over the award, the full-back offered his reaction on social media.

“When you despise his strength, is when a warrior differs from the rest, no matter how old he is, no matter where you are, no matter who you are, never stop being what brought you here … never stop fighting, never stop respecting what you do, never stop fighting for what you want, but above all, never abdicate your values, they will keep you competitive and winning until you decide to put an end to your story and inspire other little dreamers like you … … when this is not enough, try to overcome yourself every day and every year. WHAT A YEAR,” he posted.


Um guerreiro quando menosprezam sua força é quando se difere do resto, não importa quantos anos tenha, não importa onde você estiver, não importa com quem estiver, nunca deixe de ser o que te trouxe até aqui… nunca deixe de lutar, nunca deixe de respeitar o que faz, nunca deixe de brigar pelo o que quer mas sobre tudo, jamais abdique do seus valores, eles te manterão competidor e ganhador até que você decida colocar final nessa grande história e inspirar outros pequenos sonhadores como você…… enquanto isso não chega, tente superar-se cada dia e cada ano. “QUE ANO VIVIDO” #Deusnocomandosempre?? #likebenjaminbutton? #goodcrazryhardhard??

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Neymar, meanwhile, was busy nursing a bruised big toe on his right foot, which kept him out of the weekend’s match with Montpellier. He will be back for Bayern Munich on Wednesday, and he took time to congratulate captain Thiago Silva on his birthday.

“Congratulations to my capitain @thiagosilva_33, who, besides being one of the greatest defenders I have seen, is my friend … I celebrate not only your day but your friendship, brother. I wish you all the best in your life !! I love you,” the world’s most expensive player said.


Parabéns ao meu capita @thiagosilva_33 que além de amigo é um dos maiores zagueiros que vi … eu celebro não só teu dia e sim tua amizade também irmão. Desejo tudo de melhor na sua vida !! Tamo junto, te amo ????

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Meanwhile, in what was otherwise a quiet week for him, he name dropped another famous sporting friend, this time Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.


My bro ?? #Repost @lewishamilton ??? It’s Lit?? #LFW

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He is not the only one with a famous friend, though. Nice striker Mario Balotelli has caught up with Marco Materazzi, his former team-mate at Inter.

The centre-back, though, is perhaps most famous for his role in the 2006 World Cup final, when he provoked the great Zinedine Zidane to breaking point and caused the France star to aim a headbutt at him. “It’s always great to see you, brother,” the striker commented.


TUTTI PAZZI PER MATERAZZI!! Sempre bello rivederti fratellone ???? #goodnight?

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Balotelli has been in good form for Nice and was on target as they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Angers on Friday evening.

Before the game, Mario urged his team to “focus”, and while they struggled to do that, they did eventually get over the line.


TUTTI PAZZI PER MATERAZZI!! Sempre bello rivederti fratellone ???? #goodnight?

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Meanwhile, Patrice Evra’s rough spell of form continued, to such an extent that he was left out of the Marseille squad that recorded a much-needed victory over Toulouse in the Sunday night fixture.

He had to be content with posting videos from his summer holidays, including this unusual conversation with a camel.


Talking to a camel ? now ???I love this game haahahahah #ilovethisgame #love #camel #desertlife #goodvibes #positivevibes #smile

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Patrice, unfortunately, may not be loving the game just quite as much as he usually does.


‘Neymar shouldn’t even have to ask!’ – Balotelli takes Brazilian’s side in Cavani penalty drama

Mario Balotelli has defended “crack” Neymar for trying to impose himself on set pieces at new club Paris Saint-Germain.

During Sunday’s win over Lyon, the €222 million summer signing and Edinson Cavani argued over set pieces, with both rowing over the penalty that the Uruguay striker subsequently failed to score.

PSG 10/11 to beat Bayern

Cavani also tussled with Dani Alves over the ball for a free kick and,  although the full-back said he wanted to take it himself, he gave the ball to Neymar.

Cavani insists he has no problem with Neymar , while coach Unai Emery has  told the players to sort penalties out together , but the argument has attracted a lot of attention beyond the team. 

And Balotelli has taken to social media to share his view on the debate, although his exact stance wasn’t immediately clear.

The Nice striker took a picture of the front page of French newspaper  L’Equipe  which featured the two stars and had typed over it: “[Neymar], you shouldn’t even ask [to] shoot them.”

Balotelli Instagram

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The Italian could have been hitting out at the Brazilian and telling him that he should just let Cavani take free kicks and penalties.

However, a subsequent post on Instagram Stories in which he called him a “crack” – aka, a top player – with a gold medal emoji suggested he thinks Neymar deserves to be the designated set piece taker and shouldn’t have to ask for the privilege.

Away from the drama at Parc des Princes, former Man City and Liverpool striker Balotelli had a great weekend, scoring an emphatic winner in Nice’s 1-0 victory over Rennes.