Meunier Correct in Calling PSG Fans Ungrateful

Paris Saint-Germain defeated Dijon FCO 8-0 at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday to maintain their 11-point lead at the top of Ligue 1. It was an incredible performance from the hosts especially when you consider they were playing in their fourth match in 10 days. Despite the offensive firepower on display, all was not rosy after the final whistle. This is PSG after all.

The drama unfolded in the 81st minute when Edinson Cavani was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty. With the match already in hand at 7-0, Neymar Jr. picked up the ball and set up to take the penalty. This is when some fans decided to boo and whistle at the Brazilian who already recorded a hat trick and two assists. Why would the Parc faithful jeer Neymar? Well, Cavani’s goal in the 21st minute drew him level with club legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic with 156 goals for the club and they wanted to see the Uruguayan break the record.

The fans wouldn’t get their wish and Neymar stepped up and finished easily for the eighth and final goal of the game. Once the match ended, the former FC Barcelona man took the game ball from the referee, ignored reporters waiting for an interview, and walked briskly toward the locker room with his head down. He even handed off his Man of the Match trophy to a staff member escorting him. It was hardly the exit you would expect from someone who just scored four goals.

The moment didn’t escape Thomas Meunier, who started at right-back in place of Dani Alves. After the match, the Belgian had this to say:

It was a little ungrateful from the supporters. We sense the excitement each time Neymar touches the ball but I know that they also appreciate Edinson.

However, you have to weigh up the pros and cons and put water in the wine, so when a player scores four goals and provides two more assists in a match. … The team in general should be cheered and not just individual players.

Last September against Olympique Lyonnais, Cavani and Neymar had a public disagreement over who would take a penalty kick in the waning minutes of the game. Cavani ultimately won the argument but his shot was saved. After that match, Unai Emery stated that he wanted the players to sort it out themselves and that if they couldn’t, he will decide for them. Whether the players came to an agreement or the manager made the decision, we may not know, but Meunier did confirm after the Dijon match that Neymar is the designated penalty taker.

Now, back to the fan criticism. I’ve watched the replays and while some headlines make it seem like the entire stadium was booing Neymar for taking the penalty, let’s be clear, it was a few whistles and a few boos. The chants of “Cavani” once the penalty was awarded did grow rather loud but that’s understandable given the fact a club record was on the line. The question that remains is, was Neymar affected by the fans?

Thiago Silva said that he did not think Neymar was angry when he left the pitch and Emery talked about the team as a whole and how all that matters is the win. All sound good but do they really know what’s going on inside Neymar’s head?

Despite what some trolls on Twitter will have you believe, Neymar didn’t come to Paris for the money. Sure, more money doesn’t hurt but he came to PSG to get out from under Lionel Messi’s shadow and create his own legacy at a new club. If he couldn’t stand to be second to Messi, what makes you think being booed and whistled at in favor of Cavani is going to sit well with him? No offense to Cavani but I think we can all agree Messi is miles ahead of him.

For the supporters who did whistle at Neymar, all you accomplished was giving the media something to write about to create drama leading up to the Real Madrid tie in the UEFA Champions League and piss Neymar off. I don’t care what Emery and Silva say. Their job as the manager and captain is to paint a pretty picture no matter what. I saw Neymar storm off the pitch and he did not look like a player who just scored four goals in a runaway win.

Do I think this incident will cause Neymar to push for a move this summer to Real Madrid? Of course not. However–and forgive me for criticizing those at the match while I watch from home thousands of miles away–fans should under no circumstances boo a player with Neymar’s stats in that game against Dijon. I understand them wanting Cavani to break the record but a penalty in a 7-0 game against Dijon is hardly something to remember. If El Matador can score against Lyon next Sunday, that will be worth celebrating.

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Tags Dani Alves Dijon FCO Edinson Cavani Ligue 1 Lionel Messi Neymar Thiago Silva Thomas Meunier Unai Emery
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