Neymar's reported treatment of Kylian Mbappe doesn't reflect well on the Brazilian
The two aren't on good terms, according to a report from Spain.
Neymar went into the World Cup hoping to fire his country to glory and then capture the Ballon d'Or. However, the Brazilian is on his way home and his young clubmate could be about to steal his thunder. Kylian Mbappe has been one of the most exciting players at the tournament in Russia. He scored the only goal of the game in the win over Peru, and sent Lionel Messi home with two goals in France's 4-3 win over Argentina in the last-16 match.
Mbappe became the first teenager since Pele to score twice in a World Cup match. The forward doesn't turn 20 until December, but he could be a world champion by then. France play Belgium on Tuesday in the first World Cup semi-final. If they win that game, they'll play the winner of the tie between England and Croatia.
If Mbappe returns to pre-season training at Paris Saint-Germain next month with a World Cup winner's medal in his back pocket, he might want to avoid Neymar.
According to Spanish football journalist Diego Torres, who writes for El Pais newspaper, the pair are not on good terms and clashed at times last season, their first together at the Qatari-owned club.
Torres' report claims that Neymar and Dani Alves regularly attempted to poke fun at Mbappe and undermine him. He reports that they treated him like a rookie, rather than the second-most expensive football in history and a phenomenal talent on his way to becoming the best in the world.
According to the report:
- Mbappe's father was "shocked by the way Neymar led his life and treated his son in the locker room."
- Neymar and his friend Alves made jokes about Mbappe that bordered on "contempt." They mocked his physical features, comparing him to Donatello, a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Mbappe told them he did not like their nickname for him, but they continued to refer to him as "Donatello."
- After PSG beat Celtic 5-0 in Glasgow last September, Neymar posted a video where he and Alves teased Mbappe as they offered him a slice of pizza - "Donatello, have some pizza! Eat some!"
- After Mbappe scored twice in the 4-3 win against Argentina, Alves posted an image of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle doll with a caption that read: "Donatello is fast, eh?!" According to the report, Neymar urged Alves to post the image.
- Torres' report suggests that Neymar and Alves have reduced Mbappe's talent down to being extremely fast. "'You are fast,' they said. 'You are very fast'."
- The report claims that Neymar and Mbappe are barely on speaking terms.
- Neymar and Alves are said to have refused to pass to their young teammate during a match in February. After the game, the French forward asked Neymar why he wasn't receiving the ball off him. According to Torres, the "discussion got heated" and teammates "had to separate them in the locker room."
Both Neymar and Mbappe have been linked with moves to Real Madrid. It'll be interesting to see how they get along in Paris next season if both are still at the club.