PSG back Neymar over Mbappe rift

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • Updated: 17 Feb 2023 16:38 GMT
  • 3 min read
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, PSG, 2022/23

Kylian Mbappe sent a message to his PSG teammates about "eating and sleeping well" as Neymar took part in the European Poker Tour less than 24 hours after defeat to Bayern Munich.

Mbappe had only been fit enough for the bench in the first leg of the European giants' last 16 first leg clash at the Parc des Princes, but came on and scored, only for his goal to be disallowed in a 1-0 defeat.

After the game, Mbappe sent a message to his teammates via the media saying it was necessary that "all our players are in good health," ahead of the return leg, that "everyone has to eat well and to sleep well."

READ: Neymar's reaction to Bayern loss leaves Mbappe fuming

Less than 24 hours later, Neymar was pictured taking part in the European Poker Tour in Paris, competing the €10k Mystery Bounty against some of the game's best players.

The divergence in sporting attitude between the two players seems obvious, but PSG head coach Christophe Galtier has moved to defend the Brazilian.

Galtier: 'Neymar has right to play poker on day off'

"I've spoken to Neymar and I said what thought about the photo at the fast food - the conversation will stay between us," he said ahead of PSG's Ligue 1 meeting with Lille on Sunday.

"Neymar has the right on his day off. He likes playing poker and he has the right to do so."

READ: Messi and Neymar are stopping PSG winning the Champions League

The relationship between Mbappe and Neymar has oscillated between friendship and rivalry since the pair arrived in Paris in 2017.

Neymar remains the most expensive transfer off all time after his €222 million arrival from Barcelona, but Mbappe has overtaken him in influence, and briefly became the highest paid footballer in the world after spurning Real Madrid to extend his contract with PSG last May.

Galtier's motive for pouring oil on troubled waters is clear: Neymar has 17 goals and 16 assists in all competitions for PSG this season; Mbappe has 25 and six in each column.