Paris Saint-Germain forwards Edinson Cavani and Neymar were reportedly prevented from coming to blows by club captain Thiago Silva in the dressing room after their 2-0 win over Lyon on Sunday.
The duo were involved in an on-field disagreement over who should take a penalty during the contest, with Cavani eventually taking the kick. They also appeared to clash over who should take other set pieces during the game, with Dani Alves smuggling the ball to Neymar away from Cavani at one stage.
According to L'Equipe (h/t Get French Football News), the pair were then involved in an angry exchange in the dressing room after the fixture:
Get French Football @GFFN
Edinson Cavani & Neymar were restrained by Thiago Silva from physically fighting each other in the PSG dressing room last night. (L'Équipe)2017-9-18 22:01:54
Tom Williams of AFP relayed the front cover of the French newspaper on Tuesday, clearly suggesting there is an issue between the duo:
Tom Williams @tomwfootball
Trouble in paradise? @lequipe says Neymar and Cavani had to be kept apart in changing room after arguing about set-piece duties against Lyon https://t.co/Q8dos8C1Ab2017-9-19 06:09:23
According to Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror, Cavani, who didn't get involved in the team's post-match celebrations, told Neymar he was not impressed with his attitude after the game. The pair are then said to have squared up, before Silva and Marquinhos intervened—per Sport.
Cavani then left the dressing room earlier than the rest of his team-mates and was pictured departing through a back door instead of going through the mixed zone.
Per Sport Witness, the report from L'Equipe was accompanied by this cartoon of the duo depicted as children fighting in a sandpit, while Mundo Deportivo also had its say:
Sport Witness @Sport_Witness
L'Equipe show Edinson Cavani and Neymar fighting in a sandpit. #PSG https://t.co/Yb1xtqVTOU2017-9-19 06:10:21
Sport Witness @Sport_Witness
"I leave Barca to fly more freely, higher, further...." Mundo Deportivo enjoying Neymar's Cavani issue. https://t.co/QPk6qpn4S42017-9-19 08:26:21
Cavani has spoken about the exchanges with Neymar since the game, telling Gol de Medianoche de Radio Universal (h/t EFE via Sport) that he has no issue with his new forward partner.
"I learned of the story just now talking with my brother, about people saying that Cavani won't let anyone take penalties and that there's a problem with Neymar," he said. "The truth is that there's no problem. He [Neymar] has just arrived and like I said from the off we are keen for him to adapt in the best way possible."
Still, based on what manager Unai Emery said about the duo and the need for clarity on set pieces, it appears there is tension between the pair:
B/R Football @brfootball
Seems like Neymar and Cavani need to have a tough conversation https://t.co/QK6aiRuawx2017-9-18 14:13:23
The reports of unrest have punctured what has been a perfect start to the season otherwise. After all, they did beat Lyon in a hard-fought game on Sunday and their record remains perfect in the Ligue 1 after six games.
In terms of their linkup on the pitch Cavani, Neymar and new signing Kylian Mbappe have been sensational this season, too. Cavani leads the line with incision and physicality, while the latter duo add blistering pace, versatility and flair.
Since the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cavani has relished being the main man at PSG and perhaps he's not too keen to relinquish any responsibility quite yet. But from Neymar's perspective, after a world-record transfer in the summer, it's understandable he's desperate to make as big an early impression as possible.