September 13, 2019 / 1:05 PM / 4 days ago

Neymar back for PSG after Barca transfer saga

PARIS (Reuters) - Neymar is available to play for Paris St Germain after being left out of their squad as negotiations took place over a potential return to Barcelona, coach Thomas Tuchel said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 10, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brazil forward Neymar (10) looks on after the South American Showdown soccer match against Peru at Los Angeles Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Brazilian is likely to make his first appearance of the season for the Ligue 1 leaders at home against Racing Strasbourg on Saturday.

Barca spent the bulk of the close season negotiating with PSG to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou, two years after he left for a world record 222 million euros ($245 million) but the Catalans failed to strike a deal with the Ligue 1 champions.

Tuchel told a news conference that all players were available except Thilo Kehrer, Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.

“Now that the transfer window is closed it’s not a distraction anymore,” Tuchel said of the Neymar saga.

“Life is not too hard for him, living and playing in Paris.”

Neymar is likely to get a cold reception from the Parc des Princes crowd after saying during the summer that his best memory as a footballer was PSG’s humiliating 6-1 defeat by Barca at the Camp Nou in the Champions League in 2017.

“I can’t control how the fans will react,” said Tuchel.

“But the more you talk about something the more it becomes a big thing.”

PSG lead the Ligue 1 standings with nine points from four games.

They start their Champions League campaign next Wednesday with a home game against Real Madrid.

Neymar will be suspended for the match, however, for insulting match officials following the French side’s elimination from the competition last season.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis

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