Paris Saint-Germain’s mercurial Brazilian star Neymar could face a ban of up to seven games from the French top flight after striking out at Marseille’s Alvaro Gonzalez on Sunday.
VAR cameras caught Neymar slapping Gonzalez during a mass brawl in injury time at the end of PSG’s 1-0 defeat to Marseille at the Parc des Princes.
Neymar was one of five players dismissed in the game but, after the match, he spoke out against Gonzalez’s actions, as he accused his opposite number of racism.
“Look at the racism. That’s why I hit him,” he tweeted.
“The only regret I have is not hitting this idiot in the face.
“It’s easy for VAR to show my ‘aggression’. Now I’d like them to show the image of the racist who called me a ‘MONKEY SON OF A B*TCH’. I’d really like that!”
There was no clear evidence of Gonzalez making racial slurs toward Neymar, and the Brazilian’s head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted after the match that, “He told me it was a racist insult but I didn’t hear anything on the pitch.”
Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas added, “There is no place for racism in football, but I don’t think that was the case. We’ll have to look at it.”
The governing body of professional football in France, the LFP, will now review the incident before handing out its suspension for the Brazilian, with the organization’s regulations stating that the Brazilian could be banned for as many as seven matches, according to French sports outlet RMC Sport.
“An aggressive action committed outside of a game set and without causing injury to the opponent can lead to the suspension of seven games,” the regulations read.
If the reason for the dismissal is an attempted assault, the player can expect a ban of up to six games.
Gonzalez denies using racist language during the game and delivered a pointed message to Neymar, saying, “Sometimes you have to learn to lose and take it on the field.”