Updated: January 2019

Who should take penalties and free kick in PSG, Neymar or Cavani?

3 January 2019

Neymar enjoyed a great life at Barcelona, there was no doubt about that. The tactical synchronization among the three forwards (Messi, Suarez, and Neymar) was tantalizing. The goals were a flood and records were broken recklessly by the trio. There was as much emotional rhythm as a soccer rhythm among the three. Outside the pitch, the three were great friends. Fast forward to reality, Neymar shockingly left Barcelona which seems like his spiritual home to Paris St.German in the biggest transfer coup to be seen in the world of soccer.

The explanation Neymar gave for leaving Barcelona was controversial. He explained he was going in search of a new project and a new challenge. To many soccer lovers, it was typically not a sporting move. Moving from PSG Barca is an upward sporting move with all respect to PSG but not the other way around certainly. Therefore the popular explanation the world subscribed to was that he was going to PSG to escape Messi’s shadow and be the main man he deserves to be. That sounds more reasonable actually than a “new project”. Neymar leaving Barca to pursue his Ballon D’Or dreams is well understood and even inspiring. That implied that Neymar was going to be the centre man and undisputed leader of where he was going.

So Neymar landed in PSG in a reverberating welcome. Paris was alight with the global fragrance that accompanied the Brazilian prince. With a bang, he clicked into the team matching and beating expectations, giving them a bountiful dish of goals, assists and flamboyant dribbles. The excitement at Paris is understandably bursting as they were living a fantasy of seeing Neymar donning a PSG shirt. Neymar equally feels at home immediately, at least he feels closer to Brazil in PSG with his Samba contingent of Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Lucas Moura and others. But in all these colorful merrymaking, there popped a predictable problem: a power struggle between Cavani and Neymar.


Prior to Neymar’s arrival, Cavani was the main man at PSG (especially in the attack). With a return of 49 goals last season, Cavani reinstated his candidacy for another tenure as the leader of the attack this season. But Neymar’s arrival was certainly going to cause a political disruption on the pitch. The power hierarchy now is distorted and disjointed. Who is on top of the other, Neymar or Cavani? Certainly, Neymar didn’t leave Messi’s shadow at Barca to come and be submerged in Cavani’s shadow. He came to be the main man. Cavani is reluctant to relinquish his crown to Neymar.

Despite the flurry of goals, the power struggle lurking around the corner set into the main stage. Neymar in one of the matches asked Cavani to allow him to take the penalty. Cavani waved him off. In Barcelona, Neymar shares such cordiality with Messi that Messi severally allows him to take the spot kick, but Cavani doesn’t look like he has such courtesy and he looks unwilling to let Neymar take it. A bitter Neymar trudged off. In the matches to come, Neymar understood that diplomacy was not going to work with Cavani hence Neymar has decided to come out to stake his claim to leadership. In the PSG match against Lyon, there was a scuffle between both players over penalty and free kick taking duties. Even Cavani had to wrestle a free kick with Diego Alves a staunch accomplice of Neymar only for Alves to willfully submit the free kick to Neymar to take it. It is a big problem which if mismanaged and could ravage the dressing room and decompose team spirit. Coach Emery Unai has told both players to sort it out between themselves amicably before he steps in.

So what do you think? Who should be taking penalties and free kick duties in PSG, Neymar or Cavani?

PSG 11/2 with Paddypower to win the Champions League