By UPI |

Neymar Jr. ditches PSG training; club to take action

July 9 (UPI) -- Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. skipping a Paris Saint-Germain training session Monday without prior authorization from the Ligue 1 club.

PSG said the striker was due to return to preseason activities with the senior squad but was absent.

"Paris Saint-Germain notes that Neymar Jr. was not in attendance at the agreed time and place," the club said in a statement. "This was without the club's prior authorization. The club regrets this situation and will therefore take appropriate action."

The development comes as Neymar has been heavily linked to a return to Barcelona in transfer rumors. PSG sporting director Leonardo told La Parisien Monday he did not know when Neymar would return to PSG training and that it is "clear to everyone" he wants to leave the club.

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Neymar, 27, has three years remaining on his contract with PSG. Leonardo said PSG has not received any offers for the striker, but have had talks with Barcelona.

Neymar has 34 goals in 37 appearances as PSG. He has led the club to consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He has dealt with numerous ankle injuries during that tenure, limiting his play in major tournaments. Neymar was stripped of Brazil's captaincy in May.

"We know Neymar wants to leave PSG but we know that PSG do not want Neymar to leave," Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu told the BBC.

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Neymar Sr. told Fox Sports Brazil PSG and his son agreed to a July 15 return, despite the club's objection to that date. A source told La Parisien that Neymar is expected to return to PSG training "soon."

"He made commitments to his institute and a sponsor," Leonardo said. "But these were not dates agreed with the club. However, he played his last game on June 6. The holidays were until July 8th. And there, he did not come."

Leonardo said PSG needs a defensive midfielder and a central defender during the transfer window, regardless of Neymar's status.

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