Neymar Has an Unpleasant History with Appointed Referee for Champions League Semifinal

UEFA has elected to go with Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers for the upcoming Champions League semifinal between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. Kuipers is among the most well-respected and experienced referees in Europe today. He has been called to officiate key contests such as the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final.

However, not everyone has a pleasant history with Kuipers. PSG forward Neymar may be among those who may not be very fond of his work as a referee. The two have clashed before, most notably in two key contests back in 2018.

In a 2018 FIFA World Cup contest between Brazil and Costa Rica, Neymar had a difficult time getting going due to the physical play from the Concacaf side. Neymar was fouled four times and was also involved in 23 ground duels. Brazil did pick up a win in the match thanks to some late-game heroics from the likes of Neymar and Phillipe Coutinho.

But the Brazilian forward did let his frustrations be well known to Kuipers during the contest. The two had a lengthy argument at one point during the match, with cameras catching Kuipers telling Neymar to stop talking.

Neymar earned a yellow card from Kuipers during the game for arguing.

Later that year, Kuipers officiated a Champions League group stage contest between PSG and Napoli. Neymar was fouled six times in the fixture and evidently was not pleased with how Kuipers reffed the game. At one point, Neymar voiced his displeasure to Kuipers even with both Thiago Silva and Kylian Mbappe attempting to halt the back-and-forth argument. Kuipers issued a yellow card to Neymar for arguing.

Neymar later explained (via ESPN) just why he was involved in a heated discussion with Kuipers.

“The referee told me something he should not have,” Neymar said. “It was disrespectful. I do not want to repeat what he said to me. However, somebody high up should do something. He cannot be as disrespectful as he was with me. On the pitch, we are asked to show respect towards the referees. We should get the same in return.”

It will be interesting to see if Neymar ends up clashing with Kuipers during PSG’s upcoming fixture against RB Leipzig.

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Tags Champions League Napoli Neymar RB Leipzig

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