Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille is not how the 2020/21 football season should have started.
Barely two game-weeks into the new Ligue 1 campaign, headlines of racism, spitting and red cards have emerged from what should have been a footballing exhibition in the French capital.
Instead, the game will be remembered for five sendings off and accusations of a racist incident.
Claims of racism in Paris
It hardly seems right to talk about the football itself, but it was indeed Marseille that emerged with the three points after some Steve Mandanda heroics and Florian Thauvin's first-half winner.
But the match will forever be overshadowed by a string of incidents that appeared to commence after the half-hour mark when Angel Di Maria was accused of spitting at Marseille's Alvaro Gonzalez.
Just moments after VAR reviewed the episode to assess whether Di Maria was culpable, his PSG teammate, Neymar, was filmed seemingly accusing Gonzalez of racism to the match officials.
Neymar takes to Twitter
It was this narrative thread that appeared once again when five players were dismissed in stoppage time with Neymar being sent off for punching Gonzalez in the back of the head.
Neymar then explained the decision both to the fourth official and the television camera by noting that a racist incident had occurred, which he later reiterated by taking to Twitter.
The Brazilian remarked that his only regret was that he didn't punch Gonzalez in the face and he followed it up with a more explanatory post, claiming that he was called a 'monkey'.
Allegedly called a 'monkey'
French football expert Jonathan Johnson has confirmed that Neymar claims he was called a 'monkey son of a b****'.
Goal have released a translation of the entire tweet as follows: "VAR spotting my 'attack' is easy, Now I want to see it pick up the image of the racist calling me “MONO HIJO DE PUTA” (monkey motherfucker). That's what I want to see. And then?
"I do a rainbow flick, you punish me .. For a slap, I get sent off … what about them? What then?"
If Neymar's accusations are indeed accurate, then serious punishment should await Gonzalez.
There will no doubt be a full investigation conducted by the footballing powers that be in France and it's imperative that if racist language was used, that it is addressed accordingly and strictly.
There is no place for racism. Not in sport. Not in society. Not now. Not ever.
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