PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain’s Dani Alves said he was hoping to take the free kick himself after he appeared to hide the ball from Edinson Cavani and hand it to Neymar in Sunday’s the 2-0 home win over Lyon on Sunday.
Two own goals secured all three points for PSG, but Neymar and Cavani disagreed over who should take a second-half free kick, with Alves getting involved in his fellow Brazilian’s favour. Neymar later pestered the Uruguay international to take a penalty, before Cavani’s attempt was saved by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
On the free kick, Alves insisted that he was planning to take a shot himself, but said he was not concerned with individual statistics as long as the team won.
“I was going to have a go myself — I had already taken the ball for the free kick because I have already scored a few,” Alves told SporTV after the game. “I was confident. To me, this is nothing, the most important thing is that the team is ahead of any individual result.
“I believe that when the match is really hard and we want to make the breakthrough, we all want to take responsibility. That is what I wanted to do here but Ney took the ball from me and ended up shooting.
“I had already taken one earlier and I tried to take this one as well but unfortunately, I wasn’t unable to.”
Alves emphasised the need to remain together as a squad after the farce and that individual glory will not necessarily guarantee collective success.
“I believe that individual results have nothing to do with team games,” continued Alves. “We need to play together so we can keep growing and reaching our goals.
“I believe that we are all very smart here, so we know that any result as a team is more important that an individual result, because we are playing a team sport.”
Speaking with SporTV, midfielder Adrien Rabiot stressed that there were no issues in the dressing room after the match, despite the fact that Cavani was spotted leaving the stadium almost immediately.
“There were not any problems [in the locker room],” said the France international. “I did not see what happened on the field because I was talking to the coach at the moment but that happens in other teams too.
“Edinson scored a goal and Neymar wanted to score too, so that happens. They are football players, they want to score and that can happen but they are also very professional and it was all good in the locker room afterwards.
“I think they are going to speak and come to an agreement. They can take penalty kicks one at a time.”
Cavani has scored two penalties from a possible three this season, while he has also shown at times in the past that he can score spectacular free kicks.
However, Neymar is known for his ability from both set pieces and was a regular taker with Barcelona, and he already takes most corners for PSG.
PSG coach Unai Emery, who told his players to “sort it out between themselves”, also urged Neymar and Edinson Cavani to find a “gentleman’s agreement” when it came to taking penalties.
“Penalties will be taken by a couple of players,” the manager said. “One is Edinson and the other is Neymar. There needs to be a gentleman’s agreement on the pitch when it comes to taking spot-kicks.
“Apart from that, we will have to arrange things internally for when we get penalties because I believe that both are capable of converting them and I want that they alternate with this exercise.”
PSG travel to Montpellier later this week before a visit from Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.