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3 Aug, 2019 15:47

'Of course I want him to stay': Kylian Mbappe shoves Neymar out of team photo, but denies rift

'Of course I want him to stay': Kylian Mbappe shoves Neymar out of team photo, but denies rift

Kylian Mbappe has denied reports of ill-will between him and PSG teammate Neymar amid rumors of the Brazilian campaigning for a return to Barcelona, as footage emerged of Mbappe appearing to push Neymar out of a team photograph.

Neymar, who became the world's most expensive player when he moved to the French capital from Barca two years ago, has been strongly linked with a transfer back to Catalonia after an up-and-down spell with Paris Saint-Germain – rumors which have been reinforced by reports of a less-than-cordial relationship with teenage striking sensation Mbappe.

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The Brazilian has yet to return to full fitness after picking up an ankle injury in early June which ruled him out of the Copa America, but was on hand to witness PSG beat Rennes in the annual Trophee des Champions on Saturday, where he was swiftly pulled into the team celebrations after the final whistle by Italian midfielder Marco Veratti.

However, it appeared as though Mbappe – who scored one of PSG's two goals in the tie – didn't particularly appreciate the arrival of Neymar into the team celebrations as he grabbed him by the wrist and ushered him away.

Neymar did return to the celebrations after the photographs were taken and was seen laughing and joking with teammates, but rumors persist as to the relationship between the French team's two crown jewels, something which was addressed by Mbappe during a press conference on Friday.

"He has a situation that everyone knows," Mbappe said, hinting at Neymar's interest in returning to Barcelona. 

"Of course I want him to stay. I spoke with him. He knows what I think of him and his situation. Everything is going well between us. We have a relationship based on honesty and respect. He knows that I respect him and that I admire him."

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The Neymar saga has bubbled over throughout the course of the summer but, with the Spanish transfer deadline looming in just under a month's time, fans of both PSG and Barca can take some solace in the knowledge that the player's future will almost certainly be resolved one way or another come early September.

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