Sports Burst - Neymar Strikes Back

Getty Images

 

by Tim Stannard

 

Neymar and Keylor Navas set to start for PSG with Mauro Icardi likely to begin from the bench

 

There were a few seconds of potty-mouthed behavior from Sports Burst this morning aimed at our French friends across the Atlantic.

It was listening in to the press conference of PSG coach Thomas Tuchel and had to wait a solid five minutes before the topic of Neymar came up. Five minutes!

The continuing absence of Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe through injury were confirmed first. The South American players who were in action in the US were tired with a bit of jetlag.

 

Keylor Navas will start in goal on Saturday against Strasbourg. And Cam Newton has had better nights. Well. The last part was made up. Although he has.

Finally, the Neymar elephant in the room came up and Tuchel confirmed the news that everyone except large chunks of the PSG home support wanted to hear – Neymar was ready to play in Saturday’s Ligue Un encounter against Strasbourg. “Everything is clear. We know our group now. We have personality, character, experience and talent. We have ‘Ney’ in our group. There are no more distractions. He can focus on us now. He is a PSG player.”

The fairly animated German coach was probed on whether he had spoken to Neymar since his return from Brazil duty and the message for the press was to take a chill pill - “some things are not as important as you think. If you talk about it all the time, it becomes more important.” Welcome to the internet, Thomas.

 

Tuchel also confirmed that Mauro Icardi will see some action against Strasbourg although he is not yet sure if the Argentinean is fit to play 90 minutes.

There was one lingering Neymar problem though - how would the reaction be from the home fans in the Parc de Princes after the summer soap opera? “I can understand that not all the supporters are happy. I cannot influence this reaction. I cannot control the supporters. The only thing I can control is in my team. ‘Ney’ is another player.”

Find out how the battle on the pitch and in the stands between Wanda and Neymar’s Dad gets on, live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday. The build-up begins at 11AM ET / 8AM PT.

 

Zizou backs Vinicius as Marcelina blames Copa del Rey for Valencia sacking

 

The confidence game was the talk of the Real Madrid dressing room for Coach Zizou ahead of Saturday's La Liga return match against Levante - live at 7AM ET / 4AM PT (you can do it, West Coast Posse!)

The French manager was quizzed on whether he had full trust in Vinicius Junior and if he felt Eden Hazard was ready to be thrown into the mix after a lengthy spell out with injury, especially with Luka Modric, Isco and Marco Asensio sidelined and Gareth Bale suspended. 

The answer on the Brazilian was a positive - "he's the future of Real Madrid," however Zidane was a little cagier on Hazard with talk of being careful and a 'let's see' vibe. 

In the Barcelona world, the talk is less of Lionel Messi’s ongoing absence and the probable return of Luis Suarez but what state the visiting Valencia players are going to be in for the game that kicks off at 3PM ET / 12PM PT live on beIN SPORTS.

An emotional Marcelino, who was fired as manager on Wednesday, has gathered his emotions to talk about his sacking and blames winning the Copa del Rey for Valencia.

“During the season, we received direct messages from certain people that we had to reject the Copa (to focus on La Liga),” said Marcelino. Curious and curiouser.

The first match-up of La Liga is live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET / 12PM with Mallorca taking on Athletic Bilbao. If Athletic win that, then they go top. Which is nice. That is preceded by Lille (the most fun soccer club you may never have watched) facing Angers in a Ligue Un weekend opener. 

It's FALCAO FRIDAY! on beIN SPORTS ESPANYOL and CONNECT at 1:30PM ET / 10:30AM PT. The Colombian who had just the 25,000 fans greet his airport arrival in Turkey is set for his Galatasaray debut against Kasimpasa. 

 

Pogba out for United as Klopp gives bad news to Newcastle

 

There's been more talking coaches than an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine today with the Premier League bringing everyone out. 

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing a tricky home clash against a vibrant Leicester City on Saturday and will be without an injured Paul Pogba. The Norwegian also noted that contract extension talks with David De Gea were going a little slower than hoped. The Spaniard could be a free agent next summer. 

Speaking of goalkeepers and Jurgen Klopp said on Friday that there was no date for the return of goalkeeper Alisson. However, in what could be bad news for visiting Newcastle United, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah have had free international breaks and are feeling as fit and fiddles. And hopefully speaking to each other again, as matters looked a little frosty two weeks ago against Burnley.  

 The Sports Burst live show will be all over the weekend’s action. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT.