‘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

Article continues below

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.


Philanthropist Neymar and philosopher Dani Alves – Ligue 1 goes social

The return of autumn and the Champions League marks the coming of a stage in the football season when the games arrive thick and fast at the top level. All of the big clubs have played three times over the last week, and as such their stars have had little opportunity to think of anything but football.

For Paris Saint-Germain, it was once again a highly-successful week. Not only did they start their Champions League campaign with a thumping 5-0 win over Celtic in Scotland, a result celebrated by many of their stars on Instagram, they also increased their grip on Ligue 1 by seeing off Lyon 2-0 at home. “Great work from the team, this is the way forward,” Dani Alves posted to his Instagram account following the victory over Brendan Rodgers’ side in Glasgow.


Grande trabalho equipe, esse é o caminho a seguir!! #GoodCrazyishere

A post shared by DanialvesD2 My Twitter (@danialves) on

Sunday’s encounter with Lyon was Kylian Mbappe’s first home match as a PSG player and was decided by two own goals, the second of which arrived after the young striker’s shot cannoned back off OL goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, onto team-mate Jeremy Morel and into the net.

It was cruel on a Lyon side that deserved a share of the spoils for a dogged performance. The nature of the two goals did not stop Mbappe from enjoying his evening, though, as he posted a picture of the game to his Instagram account after the match.


Victoire 2-0 contre Lyon

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

Meanwhile, Neymar was again a chief protagonist for his side, although he had a hard match against Lyon full-back Kenny Tete. Indeed, for once the Brazilian was prevented from either scoring or being credited with an assist.

He was, however, on target in PSG’s win over Celtic, blasting his team into the lead with a fierce finish in the first half. For Neymar, it has been customary to post himself a good luck message to social media before his matches, and he has done so twice over the last week. “May God bless and protect us,” both read.


Que Deus nos abençoe e nos proteja

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

The striker has been doing his bit for charity, too. He took to Instagram to raise awareness of an organisation called Handicap International France, who seek to act to protect vulnerable people.

Neymar became an ambassador for the organisation earlier this week and posted a simple picture of himself with the word ‘Hi’ written on the palm of his hand.


@hi_france @institutoneymarjr

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on


#StopBombingCivilians @hi_france @institutoneymarjr

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

In another post, he offered a similar picture, albeit one with ‘STOP’ written on his hand. This is a message that is designed to raise awareness of civilians in war-torn areas being the target of bombs.

PSG team-mate Dani Alves has been in a philosophical mood, as usual. “If you make your base strong, your structure will never shake with turbulence, its principles will be what strengthens your consciousness, will give you the ability to run and excel! If at some point you think about changing something in life, change your actions, change your attitudes and they will be reflected in those around you. Take care of your emotions, they bring love for life and peace for the hearts,” he posted.


Dependendo da sua base, sua estrutura nunca se abalará com turbulência, os seus princípios serão o que fortalecerá sua consciência, te dará a capacidade de execução e competência! Se em algum momento pensar em mudar algo na vida, muda a suas ações, mude suas atitudes e elas se verão refletidas nos que te rodeiam. Cuide das suas emoções, elas que trazem amor pela vida e paz para os corações. #BomFinalDeSemanaMeuPovo #GoodCrazyPower

A post shared by DanialvesD2 My Twitter (@danialves) on

One of the big stories in the French media this week has been the decision to award the 2024 Olympic games to Paris. It was a decision met with joy from many involved in sport in the country, with Mbappe among those to post about the vote on social media.


After his face was portrayed in lights around the city just a couple of weeks ago, he gave coverage to the altogether different event.


Hâte d’y être #PARIS2024

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

“Can’t wait for it,” he said, perhaps with one eye on tackling club-mate Neymar in the competition, after Brazil famously won the title for the first time in Rio 2016. Mario Balotelli is another star who has had an excellent week.


He was on target as Nice recorded a thumping win over Zulte Waregem in the Europa League on Thursday and then scored the winner as they went to Rennes on Sunday to pinch a 1-0 success. “It’s only the beginning,” the Italy international forward promised as his fine form continued.


Alass !! Nice assist ! Allez nice.. bravo le gars It’s only the beginning ! Focus on next match guys. #issanissa

A post shared by Mario Balotelli (@mb459) on


Bravo les gars @dantebahia but And thank you supporters . Now focus on next match ! Andiamo!!

A post shared by Mario Balotelli (@mb459) on

Someone not having such a good time of it currently is Patrice Evra, who was dropped for Marseille’s victories over Konyaspor and Amiens this week. However, the veteran defender seems to be taking it all in his stride, showing his usual upbeat attitude on Facebook.



Only LOVE on my instagram!!! Where the grumpy are ??where the grumpy are ?? HAPPY #monday Send this video to all the negative people and just clean your shoulder always thanks god I’m alive God is good I love this game hahaahhahahahaha #ilovethisgame #grumpy #godisgood #love #life #happy #share #funny

A post shared by Patrice Evra (@patrice.evra) on

There is some welcome respite over the next week for the players, with no Ligue 1 sides in midweek action.



Neymar & Mbappe pal up and Ballotelli’s expecting – Ligue 1 goes social

International week is always an awkward time for footballers. Often, it can mean travelling thousands of miles to play two or three games in the space of a week, perhaps even fewer.

Neymar was faced with precisely that challenge as he tackled Ecuador and Colombia with Brazil before returning to France on Friday to start a Ligue 1 fixture against Metz.

At Stade Symphorien, he joined forces with a new team-mate Kylian Mbappe. Between them, it meant that nearly €400m worth of talent was on PSG’s wings, so it should have come as little shock that the capital side ran out 5-1 winners, with both of the pair getting on the scoresheet.

Off the field, they seem to be bonding well, with the Brazil ace posting a picture of the two players together on his Instagram account as the pair made their way to the game.


@k.mbappe29 #Repost @psg En route #NeymarJr #Mbappe #PSG #Football #Paris

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

Earlier, Neymar had posted: “May God bless and protect us.”

Metz fans will certainly feel PSG had a little something extra on their side as a controversial red card when the score was still poised at 1-1 tipped the balance in the guests’ favour.


Que Deus nos abençoe e nos proteja

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

Mbappe was quick to share his delight with his 3 million Instagram followers, posting a picture of himself celebrating what will surely be the first of many goals for the club.

His effort was a smart reaction shot after an attempted pass to Neymar was blocked, and the pair combined expertly throughout.


Victoire 5-1 contre Metz @psg

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

It has been a big week for the young man, who was born and brought up in the French capital.

Paris has celebrated having one of its own make such a high profile move back to the capital, with the player’s image projected onto many buildings around the historic city centre. Unsurprisingly, Mbappe has shown many of these cool images on his social media accounts.



A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

Without the problem of a long journey to team-up with his international squad, Mbappe has also been able to give something back to the local community with the Play Bondy project, for which he is an ambassador. “A big thank you to everyone who came out for this exceptional event,” he said.


?Un grand merci à toutes les personnes qui ont fait le déplacement pour venir à cet exceptionnel événement #PlayBondy ?

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe29) on

?This pair haven’t been the only ones celebrating this week, though.

Mario Balotelli has had a difficult start to the season with his Nice side, but after they thumped champions Monaco 4-0 at home for the second campaign in succession, they appear to be back on track.

The Italian was on target twice for the Cote d’Azur club and is looking forward to what’s to come, paying particular tribute to teenager Ignasius Ganago, who came off the bench to score a debut goal. “This is just the start,” he promised. “Well done boys. Well done Ganago!!”


@ogcnice c’est juste le début.. Bravo le gars… bravo Ganago !!

A post shared by Mario Balotelli (@mb459) on

He also posted a video of the team celebrating in the dressing room after the game, with unfortunate goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale again taking the brunt of Balotelli’s joy.

The shot-stopper has often been the striker’s punch bag since he arrived a year ago, and Balo seemed to be getting the better of the duel between the two on this occasion, too.



A post shared by Mario Balotelli (@mb459) on

But has it just been a good week for Mario on the field? He seemed to suggest that there could soon be a new addition to his family with this post.



A post shared by Mario Balotelli (@mb459) on

Exciting times all round, it would seem.


Nice 4 Monaco 0: Balotelli inspired as champions’ winning run shudders to a halt

Monaco’s record winning run in Ligue 1 was ended at 16 games as a Mario Balotelli-inspired Nice registered a fine 4-0 win.

Mario Balotelli scored twice as Nice swept to another 4-0 victory over Ligue 1 champions Monaco in the Cote d’Azur derby.

Leonardo Jardim’s side had appeared largely untroubled by a transfer window that included several high-profile departures, demolishing Marseille 6-1 before the international break, but one of those to leave – Allan Saint-Maximin – combined to fine effect with Balotelli to hand Monaco a first defeat of the season and end their record-breaking winning run in Ligue 1 at 16 games.

Balotelli opened the scoring from the penalty spot, before Saint-Maximin helped Alassane Plea double the advantage and the Italy striker tapped home after the break as Monaco wilted, Ignatius Ganago capping the win late on with a goal on his league debut.

Nice worked in swathes of space in Monaco’s defence from the off, with Saint-Maximin putting Plea clear on goal in the fifth minute. Danijel Subasic saved but Nice kept the chance alive and were awarded a penalty when Fabinho tugged Balotelli to the floor.

Subasic guessed correctly, diving to his right, but Balotelli’s firm effort found the net regardless.

Monaco’s defending was again woeful as Saint-Maximin took the direct approach to send Plea in on goal and he kept his cool to curl past Subasic.

Balotelli escaped the attention of Fabinho to tap in just before the hour, while a standing ovation and handshake from coach Lucien Favre to greet his 74th-minute withdrawal was in stark contrast to the public dressing down the striker received after an insipid showing against Napoli in the Champions League last month.

Favre had pointedly hailed the performance of Ganago in Balotelli’s stead in that game and the 18-year-old made another impact from the bench as, Monaco, who were kept off the scoresheet for the first time in 37 Ligue 1 games, again allowed their man to run clear and finish as Nice repeated last season’s scoreline against their near neighbours.


#MayMac and Neymar missing MSN – Ligue 1 goes social

Neymar may be settling in nicely at Paris Saint-Germain, but that does not mean there are things he misses about Barcelona.

The €222 million signing was present as PSG continued their perfect start to the Ligue 1 season on Friday evening, recording a 3-0 victory over Saint-Etienne at Parc des Princes.

It was the first time that Neymar had failed to gain a goal or an assist for his new club, though he was still one of the standout players on the field. Prior to the match, he had left a message on his Instagram account with the message: ‘Friends I miss’.

Those friends were his old partners in crime, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, with whom he made up the great MSN strike trio.


Amigos que echaba de menos @leomessi @luissuarez9

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

But it is not just old team-mates that the 25-year-old misses. Indeed, this week he spared a thought for Espanyol attacker Leo Baptistao, who celebrated his 24th birthday.

The former Atletico Madrid man is a close friend of Neymar. “Today it’s my little brother’s birthday. We met a long time ago, but one of the best things that happened in Barcelona was getting to know him. Congratulations, brother, may God always enlighten you, and you know something? You deserve it. I love you @leobaptisteo,” Neymar posted.


Hoje é aniversário desse meu maninho.. nos conhecemos há um tempão atras, mas uma das melhores coisas que aconteceu em Barcelona foi a nossa reaproximação … felicidades irmão, que Deus te ilumine sempre e sabe de uma coisa ? CÊ MERECE Te amo @leobaptistao oieeeee

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

But it’s not been a week entirely about looking back for the superstar.

On Friday, he crossed paths with basketball legend Stephen Curry, who arrived in Paris to watch Neymar in action.

The Brazilian had taken in Game 2 of the NBA Finals in June, and now the Golden State Warriors star replicated the gesture. Neymar appreciated it greatly, posting “Idol” on his Instagram account with a picture of the future Hall of Famer.


Idol @stephencurry30

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on


Thanks to @PSG for having me out to see the win! What a wild, crazy environment to be part of. #oracleofsoccer

A post shared by Wardell Curry (@stephencurry30) on

Neymar’s interest spreads further than just basketball and football, however, and like millions around the world he took in Floyd Mayweather’s fight with UFC star Conor McGregor in Las Vegas.

He paid tribute to the boxer, who claimed his 50th professional victory without a single defeat by stopping the Irishman in the 10th round.


The Champ @floydmayweather

A post shared by Nj neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

Meanwhile, PSG team-mate Dani Alves has been getting philosophical on Instagram. “Life, life is the greatest gift we have in this world and we do not know how long it will last, so those who are healthy have the opportunity to live it intensely, do not waste time, you can’t get it back when the light of being is extinguished,” he said.

“Do not accelerate vital processes, let life take care of it. Do not be slaves to a mediocre society, they will use weapons to destroy each other. Heal their minds and live in the peace that desperately seeks humanity.


A vida, a vida é o presente maior que temos nesse mundo e não sabemos o quanto durará, por isso, aqueles que há tem saudável aproveitem para vivê-la intensamente, não perca tempo, não poderá recupéralo quando a luz do ser se apague… não acelerem o processo vital, deixemos que a vida se encarregue disso. Não sejam escravos de uma sociedade medíocre, eles os usarão de armas para que destruam uns aos outros. Sanem suas mentes e viverão na paz que desesperadamente busca a humanidade.

A post shared by DanialvesD2 My Twitter (@danialves) on

Patrice Evra has also sent out a message through social media this week following the terrorist attacks in Catalunya. His message was to spread peace and love.


A post shared by Patrice Evra (@patrice.evra) on

Nice star Mario Balotelli has also been soul searching. He was criticised by head coach Lucien Favre after his side’s exit from the Champions League, beaten 2-0 at home by Napoli in midweek and 4-0 on aggregate.

However, he has vowed to come back stronger after missing the trip to Amiens at the weekend. “I will try my best to makes @ogcnice to come out of this dark period .. The last game I played I was still injured and I speeded up my comeback but I was still not even 50% .. I speeded up my comeback because I really wanted to help and, as you all know, I couldn’t,” he said.

“Now I’m coming out of a flu, which I had for four days already – that’s why I wasn’t in Amiens.”


I will try my best to makes @ogcnice to come out of this black period .. last game I played I was still injured and I speeded up my come back but I was still not even 50% .. I speeded up my come back because I really wanted to help and as you all know I couldn’t . Now I’m coming out of a flue which I had for 4 days already that’s why I wasn’t in Amiens . I know is always easy to attack me when things don’t go in the right way and it makes me sad and proud at the same time because it means ou people still beliving in me but all I can do is to prove wrong once again to all of those that were whistling at me. Kids fall men stand up. We are men so let’s not stay angry and look forward

A post shared by Mario Balotelli (@mb459) on

“I know is always easy to attack me when things don’t go in the right way and it makes me sad and proud at the same time because it means you people still believe in me but all I can do is to prove to all of those that were whistling at me were wrong once again.


Goodmorning everybody!! Don’t forget to smile today my youngkings and youngqueens! #love

A post shared by Memphis Depay (@memphisdepay) on

“Kids fall, men stand up. We are men so let’s not stay angry and look forward.” If all that’s a bit heavy, Memphis Depay can have the final word. “Don’t forget to smile today my young kings and young queens,” the Lyon star told his followers.