Diego Forlan has described Dani Alves as Neymar's "b---h" after he gave the ball to his compatriot ahead of Edinson Cavani in a set-piece row during Paris Saint-Germain's 2-0 win over Lyon on Sunday.
Per Marca, former Uruguay international Forlan told Radio Sport 890:
"[Cavani] deserves respect. He has been scoring goals for years and taking penalties, there has to be respect.
"Neymar would not have done that to [Lionel] Messi. He did not want Cavani to take the penalty. He was like a little boy annoying him.
"It's a problem between Neymar and Cavani, those things happen on all teams. What does not make sense is what Alves does, he doesn't give the ball to Cavani but gives it to Neymar as if he were his b---h."
Alves denied Cavani's attempts to take the ball after PSG won a free-kick in a promising position in order to give it to Neymar, and later in the match, the Uruguayan turned down Neymar's request to take a penalty, which he subsequently had saved by Anthony Lopes.
Per BBC Sport's Tom English, Neymar then showed his displeasure at the situation on social media:
Tom English @BBCTomEnglish
Neymar unfollowed Cavani on Twitter because of the penalty episode versus Lyon. The modern day footballing mega star2017-9-19 09:33:08
Alves later responded to Forlan, saying, per Jack Otway of The Express:
"I don't know what game you saw but for your information I did not take it from anyone, in reality I was removed! And also for your information, I did the last PSG goal…so close the matter and stop making controversy with my name."
At Barcelona, Neymar enjoyed a positive relationship with Lionel Messi—the Brazilian appeared to be more accepting of the Argentinian's status as the talisman of the team, while Messi's own selflessness often ensured plenty of opportunities went Neymar's way.
Following his record-shattering transfer in the summer, the 25-year-old is free to emerge from Messi's shadow and is likely looking to establish himself as the main man in the French capital, with compatriot and former Barca team-mate Alves evidently eager to help.
ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson believes PSG boss Unai Emery has managed the situation poorly:
Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip
I am not saying that it is right, just that it is what I think will ultimately happen. Like I said, this should not be an issue already.2017-9-17 23:31:28
Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip
That is why this issue is down to Unai Emery at the end of the day. He should have been firm on this from the off & clearly has not been.2017-9-17 23:33:15
Emery has vowed to intervene if the situation continues, per ESPN UK:
ESPN UK @ESPNUK
Unai Emery says he will step in if Cavani and Neymar continue to disagree. More: https://t.co/yCzNatoz1M https://t.co/tBWJSOSe292017-9-18 15:30:04
There is already tension, though, so a more emphatic response might have inspired greater confidence.
Cavani has entered his fifth season at the club and has scored 139 goals for PSG during his time there, so he's unlikely to relinquish set-piece and spot-kick responsibilities lightly, particularly after he stepped out of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's shadow last year with 49 goals in 50 matches.
However, Neymar has been brought in as one of the world's biggest stars, and the club are under pressure to keep him happy, so it's likely he wields far more power in this situation despite Cavani being more established at PSG.
Whatever the resolution—and it seems Cavani is more likely to be sacrificed for the team—the club needs to achieve it quickly before the internal conflict begins to jeopardize their campaign.