Paris Saint-Germain’s star striker Neymar has conceded he acted like a fool to become embroiled in a row with the Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez during PSG’s 1-0 defeat to their arch rivals.
Neymar was one of five players dispatched at the end of the Ligue 1 match at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
The Brazilian claimed Gonzalez had directed racist remarks towards him. The 28-year-old responded by hitting the Spaniard on the back of the head.
"I thought I could not leave without doing something because I realised that those in charge would not do anything, did not notice or ignored the fact,” Neymar said in a post on social media.
"In our sport, aggressions, insults, swearing are part of the game, of the dispute. You can't be affectionate. I understand this guy partly, all is part of the game, but racism and intolerance are unacceptable," Neymar added.
"Should I have ignored it? I don't know yet ... Today, with a cool head, I say yes, but in due course, my companions and I asked the referees for help and we were ignored.
"I accept my punishment because I should have followed the path of clean football. I hope, on the other hand, that the offender will also be punished.
"The guy was a fool. I also acted like a fool for letting me get involved in that," he added.
Gonzalez has denied making any racist comments. Marseille issued a statement on Monday night backing their player. The club also complained that he has received death threats. PSG’s bosses have also said they are willing to support their 222-million euro signing.
Neymar, who received a yellow card in the first-half, was given an instant red for the gesture by referee Jerome Brisard.
PSG’s Layvin Kurzawa was shown red for aiming a punch at Jordan Amavi who was dismissed for retaliation.
PSG’s Leandro Paredes also got his marching orders for a second bookable offence. The same fate befell Marseille's Dario Benedetto.
Before the stoppage time dismissals, Brisard cautioned five PSG players and seven from Marseille.
A disciplinary commission is expected to decide the length of suspensions on Wednesday. The panel might look into Neymar’s accusations against Gonzalez and investigate Marseille’s claim that Gonzalez was spat on by PSG’s Angel Di Maria, who had just returned to action after testing positive for coronavirus.
Players face up to a 10 game ban if acist behaviour is proven. Spitting directed at another player can lead to a suspension of up to six matches.
Kurzawa could be sidelined for as many as seven matches for violent conduct after his fisticuffs.
On Wednesday, Marseille entertain Saint-Etienne, who, like their opponents, have won both of their matches
PSG, who romped to the 2020 French title, have lost their opening two games of the season for the first time since 1984/85. They play Metz at the Parc des Princes.