Clubs, Edinson Cavani, French Ligue 1, Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain, Story

With Neymar in Brazil playing poker during PSG’s title celebrations, the ESPN FC guys question his priorities and commitment to his club.
Edinson Cavani scored twice in the second half to help Ligue 1 champions PSG avoid their first home defeat of the season in a draw with Guingamp.
Gab Marcotti and the FC crew discuss Unai Emery’s imminent departure from PSG and whether or not he could be successful in the Premier League.
Unai Emery has announced on Friday he is leaving his job as Paris Saint-Germain manager at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has admitted there was a problem with superstar teammate Neymar at the start of the season when the pair quarrelled mid-match over a penalty.

The Brazil international asked the Uruguayan to take a second-half spot-kick against Lyon in a 2-0 win at Parc des Princes back in September, which spawned a controversy known as “Penalty-gate.”

And speaking with RMC Sport, Cavani recognised the incident was a wedge between the pair.

“It is true that there was a problem at that time with Neymar,” Cavani said. “We spoke about it together — I told him that I was the first to want him to win things individually. However, I told him there was a condition and that was that he must put the squad’s collective objectives first.

“I am a footballing worker — I am not a star. If I have teammates who can win individual accolades, then I will do everything to help them. They must put the team’s goals first, though. Gradually, we have come to an understanding. The team’s superiors have taken a decision and I have respected it.

“The supporters whistling, this was not good for him. If I was in his position there, it sincerely would not have pleased me.”

Cavani has been linked with a move to Serie A side Juventus. However, he was adamant his future lies at Parc des Princes if PSG choose to prolong his “love story” with the club.

“I have a contract until 2020,” the 31-year-old said. “My love story with this club has been growing for a while — I am very happy with PSG. I absolutely want to achieve the objectives set by the club. I dream of winning the Champions League here.

“Honestly, I am under contract until 2020 and I am 31. I think that I can play for two or three more seasons at the top level and I want to be concentrated during that time.

“Why think about a contract extension? I do not know what shape I will be in come 2020. I am happy to be here, with PSG.”

In order to go further in the Champions League and get closer to the Qatari-owned club’s ambitious goals, Cavani believes he and his teammates have to grow even closer than they already are.

“To me, football is like life,” said Cavani. “It is absolutely vital to give everything and stick together — we must be more united, more together.

“We have to express ourselves greater as a unit and not just a team. We must be brothers — family.”

With PSG coach Unai Emery departing at the end of the season, Cavani paid tribute to the Spaniard and stated his belief that he has given his all since joining from Sevilla.

“I congratulate the coach for everything that he has given PSG,” Cavani said. “I am sure that each day, he gave his absolute maximum for the club — I am certain of it. I have seen in him the desire to win.

“Sometimes, things work out, sometimes they do not — you cannot win everything that you want to. Football is like that. However, I know that he did everything, he gave his maximum.

“I congratulate the coach because he won a lot here with PSG.”

Kylian Mbappe has impressed Cavani as a teammate this season but the former Napoli and Palermo man believes that the France international still has a way to go before he is the finished article.

“A player cannot win alone,” said the Uruguayan. “A great player works as part of a team to win bigger things.

“Kylian can offer France many things but he should not be put under too much pressure — he will develop and become more responsible with time.

“If he stays humble and calm, he will improve — he possesses so many qualities. He still has a lot to learn but if he keeps going on this trajectory, he will go very far.”

Cavani and Mbappe can team up to help PSG to Coupe de France success next Tuesday when they face semi-professional outfit Les Herbiers in an improbable Coupe de France final matchup.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.

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