Neymar: Barcelona ‘did everything possible’ to re-sign Paris Saint-Germain forward

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Neymar playing for Paris Saint-Germain
Neymar was booed by the Paris Saint-Germain fans throughout his first appearance of the season against Strasbourg on Saturday

Barcelona “did everything possible” to try and sign Neymar this summer but think his club Paris Saint-Germain “never wanted to sell him,” according to the Catalan side’s chief executive.

The Brazil international was repeatedly linked with a return to Barcelona during the transfer window.

The 27-year-old joined Paris St-Germain from Barcelona in 2017 for a world record fee of 222m euros (£200m).

“We made a very big effort to get Neymar,” said CEO Oscar Grau.

“We did everything possible. We made two offers, one including players and one without them but we got the feeling PSG never wanted to sell him.

“We are not going to lose control when it comes to players. We want the best team around but we also want to be sustainable.”

Neymar missed PSG’s first five games of the season as he attempted to seal his move back to Barcelona before returning to the side for last weekend’s Ligue 1 match at home to Strasbourg.

The 27-year-old was booed by his own fans throughout the game before scoring an injury-time overhead-kick winner.

He said afterwards that the crowd’s reaction means “every game I play will be an away game”.

Barca predict record revenue

Meanwhile, Barcelona say they will become the first sports club to generate revenue exceeding 1bn euros (£884m) this season.

The Spanish giants revealed revenues of 990m euros last season and project an increase to 1.047bn euros for the 2019/20 campaign.

Mercedes F1 team
The Mercedes F1 team are leading the drivers’ and constructors’ championships this season

Four staff members have been sacked by the Mercedes Formula 1 team after an investigation into discrimination.

No details have been released about the incidents, but they are understood to be of a racist or religious nature.

“We condemn this behaviour in the strongest terms and acted immediately,” a Mercedes team statement added.

“We value the diversity of our employees and it is a source of strength for our team.

“Our working environment is based on appreciation and mutual respect.”

The members of staff had been working at the Mercedes team headquarters in Northamptonshire.

Mercedes’ five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who will start second on the grid at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday, currently leads the F1 drivers’ standings by 65 points.

Marc Batchelor: South African former footballer shot dead

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Mark Batchelor
Marc Batchelor played for Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa

South African former footballer Marc Batchelor has been shot dead near his home in Johannesburg.

“I am shocked to learn about the passing of former Kaizer Chiefs player Marc Batchelor,” said the club’s chairman Kaizer Motaung.

“On behalf of Kaizer Chiefs, I wish to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, friends and the football fraternity. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Analysis

South African sports journalist Mohammed Allie

Marc Batchelor was a colourful and controversial individual in South Africa. He retired from the game in 2003 and by 2007 had lost his job as a television pundit after being involved in a punch-up with a businessman in a restaurant.

He was very close to some well-known figures in the Johannesburg underworld, which is why there is strong speculation about his killing being a hit. Also, nothing was taken from him or his vehicle.

As a player he was one of an elite group to have scored for both Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa’s two biggest clubs, in the Soweto derby which is played in front of 90,000 fans.

Both clubs have expressed their condolences.

In a statement, Pirates recalled Batchelor’s role in helping the team to win the CAF Champions League title in 1995 when they beat Asec Mimosas in the final and chairman Irvin Khoza described him as a “hero”.

Khoza, who is also chairman of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League, recalled that during apartheid years the striker would train in the townships and use the same showers as black players.

“Along with [white players] Mark Fish and Gavin Lane, Marc Batchelor made South Africa appear “normal” when in fact it was not,” Khoza said.

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