Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel said he can understand the ire directed at Neymar by supporters during the team's 3-0 win over Nimes on Sunday.
Amid rumours he could rejoin Barcelona or sign for Real Madrid this summer, the Brazilian was left out of the squad for PSG's opening Ligue 1 game of the season at the Parc des Princes and fans made their feelings known:
Tuchel told L'Equipe (h/t the Press Association, via MailOnline):
"It's tricky. I don't know what to say. I saw it on my colleagues' smartphones because I did not hear them (the chants) during the match.
"Can I understand it? Yes and no. He's still our player, my player, and I protect all my players. He's in my dressing room. I can understand that not everyone has liked what he has said and done."
Neymar reportedly wants to leave PSG this summer, two years after he joined in a world-record €222 million move from Barcelona.
In July, he reported late back for pre-season training. In a statement, PSG said they would take "appropriate action" for his absence.
Prior to their clash with Nimes, sporting director Leonardo explained Neymar's absence from the squad, per ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson:
The forward's team-mate, Kylian Mbappe, is hoping he'll remain at the club.
After finding the net in Sunday's 3-0 win, when asked about PSG's ambitions for the season he told Canal Plus (h/t Get French Football News): "It depends. We are going to try to be as competitive as possible. Aside from that, let's not lie, we're going to see how things go with Neymar because we’re not the same team [without him]. But we are going to do our best."
AS' Robbie Dunne believes PSG's talk about Neymar will lower his transfer value:
Given how expensive the transfer is likely to be, a lower price would be of enormous help to either Real Madrid or Barcelona.
The former have already splashed out on several players this summer including Eden Hazard, while the latter have added Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong to their ranks.
Winning back the supporters at the Parc des Princes will be difficult for Neymar, and a lower valuation makes the possibility of his departure much more realistic, so PSG fans might get their wish this summer.