Neymar was shown a red card in Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-1 win over Strasbourg, with fans already developing a crazy theory online.
Christophe Galtier’s team returned to Ligue 1 for the first time since the end of the World Cup on Wednesday evening.
PSG took the lead through Marquinhos in the first half, but their own goal nine minutes after the break brought Strasbourg level.
Neymar let his frustrations get the better of him just after the hour mark. He received a caution after committing a foul, then a second one a minute later after diving for a penalty.
The Brazilian superstar protested to referee Clément Turpin along with his teammates, but to no avail. He left the lawn of the Parc des Princes, knowing that he will have to serve a one-match ban.
Mbappe scored the winning penalty in the dying embers to extend PSG’s lead at the top of Ligue 1 to eight points.
The defending champions will face second-placed Lens on New Year’s Day in the late kick-off. This is where things get interesting.
Fans believe Neymar was given his marching orders deliberately so he could celebrate the New Year without having to play a game the next day.
In 2020, the 30-year-old denied rumors that he held a five-day celebration at his home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neymar instead posted an image of himself enjoying a meal at home to ring in the new year. However, he doesn’t have the benefit of the doubt as to why he was fired on social media.
One person said: “You can’t fool me, Neymar. I know your game.”
Another tweeted: “Neymar really wants the new year over. He’s like me.”
Someone said, “Boss, turn on the private jet, I’m leaving.”
While a fourth said, “He doesn’t even do sus anymore.”
Galtier defended Neymar in his post-match interview despite being sacked. He admitted the winger faked a contact but felt his first booking was harsh given the constant fouls from the Strasbourg players.
He told reporters per Goal: “I expected a difficult game. Strasbourg were able to prepare. There was a lot of impact. They are a team that play well but show a lot of strength and power.
“I regret that sometimes excessive commitment has not been punished more severely on my players, which has generated a bit of frustration for Neymar.”
“I can understand the simulation, I reviewed the images and there is simulation. It deserves a yellow card. But I find that his first yellow is still very severe compared to the number of fouls suffered by Neymar, and no little mistakes.”