Defending Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Marseille have had a history of intense rivalry. The 'Classique' clash has witnessed rage between the two sides, but hasn't ever fallen short of entertainment. The most-watched Ligue 1 fixture arguably has seen the rise of another rivalry, between Neymar Jr and Alvaro Gonzalez. The heated rivalry was again on the fore between the two players on Sunday.
It wasn't unexpected that Alvaro Gonzalez and Neymar would confront each other after their heated exchange in the previous two fixtures this season. But an onfield conflict was avoided, although temporarily when Mauricio Pochettino decided to introduce Neymar as a substitute in the second half.
O Álvaro Gonçalves pisou no pé do Neymar, mas o Juiz e VAR não enxergaram pênalti nisto. pic.twitter.com/9IzwJU2ecE— Gênio Neymar Jr² (fan account) (@genioneymarjr10) February 8, 2021
But the Brazilian forward did not leave any space for Gonzalez as he raced past him on the left flank within seconds of his introduction in the game. Seemingly infuriated, Gonzalez tried to kick the former Barcelona superstar but failed again. The Spanish defender then stepped on Neymar's foot and was fortunate enough to escape a penalty.
But the tackle appeared to have taken a toll on the Marseille defender. He visibly injured himself while attempting to tackle Neymar and had to be subbed off in the 78th minute. Fans could not hold on to the anecdote, with some describing it as poetic justice.
alvaro injured himself while he was trying to hurt neymar😭 anyways i cant wait for the beef they will have on twitter after the game lmao— frau cuisance (@cuisances) February 7, 2021
Injured through a challenge on neymar😂— temitope (@temitop63120163) February 7, 2021
Alvaro Gonzalez vs. Neymar III seems entertaining already— Rob Pratley (@RJPJournalism) February 7, 2021
Neymar’s beef with Alvaro tops Auba and Kroos lol— Kingsleyfcb (@kingsleygoalman) February 7, 2021
However, this isn't the first time that the two have ended up in a conflict on the field. During their first face-off in Ligue 1 this season, Neymar and Gonzalez ended up in a confrontation following the Brazilian's accusation of being abused racially. Neymar was also seen striking at the Marseille defender's head. Similarly, the two players ended up in a Twitter spat following PSG's victory over Marseille in the French Super Cup.
Meanwhile, the absence of Neymar in the first half did not have a detrimental impact on Pochettino's men. Kylian Mbappe bagged an early goal in the 9th minute, followed by Mauro Icardi's header to double the lead for the Parc des Princes outfit. Besides, Marseille went a man down with Dimitri Payet receiving his marching orders in the 90th minute. The champions, despite the victory, sit third in the Ligue 1 standings, with a three-point deficit over leaders Lille.