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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Neymar Sr says son's penalty spat with Cavani overblown

Father of Brazilian superstar says 'whole thing exaggerated' following media interest in dressing room conflict

Edinson Cavani, left, and Neymar, right, show that all is well between them. Benoit Tessier / Reuters
Edinson Cavani, left, and Neymar, right, show that all is well between them. Benoit Tessier / Reuters

The struggle between Neymar and Edinson Cavani over who should take Paris Saint-Germain's penalties was blown out of all proportion, the Brazilian player's father said in an interview aired on French television on Sunday.

Neymar converted a spot-kick impressively in Saturday's 6-2 win over Bordeaux and was immediately hugged by his Uruguayan teammate.

The spat started two weeks ago in the 2-0 league win over Lyon when centre-forward Cavani insisted on taking a penalty but then went on to miss it.

"The whole thing was exaggerated," Neymar senior said of the tide of media interest in the dressing room conflict that came to be known in France as 'Penaltygate'.

"We saw in the game against Bayern Munich that there is no problem at all," the player's father said.

Neymar Senior said that the incident was all part and parcel of his son 'leaving his comfort zone' at Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros transfer fee for the challenge of leading PSG.

Many observers feel the issue could have been avoided had coach Unai Emery decided upon the matter ahead of time.

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"They are two very competitive players with their own individual objectives," Emery said at the time.

"Just after the match it was very emotional, so you can have conversations. People might call them disputes but they are normal and happen after practically every match."

After the Bordeaux win Emery hinted the issue was to be decided between the two players.

"For me the important thing with penalties is to score them," said the PSG coach. "The main thing is the two of them see the opportunity and they both can take penalties. The decision is down to those two.