Neymar led Paris Saint-Germain’s title celebrations, but fans of the French champions have stayed away as their protest against the club continues.
PSG made sure of the title over the weekend, but their success came in less-than-convincing circumstances. Lionel Messi gave Mauricio Pochettino’s side the lead against 10-man Lens at the Parc des Princes, but their depleted opponents still found an equaliser to ensure the spoils were shared on Saturday night.
The game was notable for boos directed at Pochettino before kick-off, with reports suggesting the manager could still be sacked despite the title win. Supporters walked out in protest despite PSG reclaiming the Ligue 1 title – having finished runners-up behind Lille in 2021 – but the players still had time to celebrate.
It was a fourth Ligue 1 title for Neymar since his world record move from Barcelona in 2017, though the Brazilian missed a chunk of the season through injury. The 30-year-old has just 11 goals in all competitions this term, his lowest PSG return, but he was spotted taking the microphone and singing on stage to mark the occasion.
The title was PSG’s 10th, bringing them level with Saint-Etienne in the all-time standings. It was sealed with four games to spare, with closest challengers Marseille some 13 points behind despite picking up a win of their own at Reims on Sunday night.
Despite fans not being too keen to celebrate their success, a host of players still took the opportunity to make the most of their moment of glory. An Instagram story shared by Neymar showed several of the title-winning squad enjoying their victory, with Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye also among the group. However, Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi appeared notably absent from the celebration photos shared on social media.
Back in February, PSG’s supporters had held another notable protest ahead of a game against Rennes. Ultras left their seats empty for the first 25 minutes of the game, while banners were unfurled referring to the players as “overpaid mercenaries”.
Pochettino opted to take aim at some of the club’s fans after they made clear their feelings on Messi as Les Parisiens celebrated the title. Messi and Neymar had previously been booed by supporters after PSG’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Real Madrid.
“The whistles against Messi? It’s unbelievable,” Pochettino told ESPN Argentina. “These are hard things to accept.
“A difficult situation to imagine and which cannot be understood in my opinion. All the more so with the greatness of Messi, what he gives and will continue to give to football.”
The manager was speaking amid continued uncertainty over where he will be managing next season. He won’t be at Manchester United, with the Premier League club opting to appoint Erik ten Hag, but might not be at PSG either with reports suggesting Antonio Conte could move to the French capital.