Neymar controls the ball during the French L1 football match between PSG and Monaco in Paris. Franck Fife/ AFP
Brazilian superstar Neymar joined the Parc des Princes party on Sunday when he came on at the start of the second half as newly-crowned French champions Paris Saint-Germain played Monaco.
Neymar had been out since Jan.23 with a right foot injury, but had been named as a substitute for a game that kicked off hours after PSG were crowned champions when their closest challengers Lille dropped points earlier in the day.
After PSG took a 2-0 first-half lead with a pair of goals by former Monaco player Kylian Mbappe, Neymar came on for the start of the second half replacing French midfielder Layvin Kurzawa.
PSG had started their three previous league games needing a victory to seal their sixth French title in seven years, but had drawn once and lost twice.
On Sunday afternoon Lille ended their challenge with a goalless draw at Toulouse. That left them 16 points behind PSG with only five games to play.
PSG are hoping Neymar could start the April 27 French Cup final against Rennes.
The Parisians have struggled with key injuries in recent weeks. Fellow striker Edinson Cavani is still out, while winger Angel di Maria was only on the PSG bench on Sunday.
PSG took the field wearing a shirt with a large image of Notre Dame replacing the usual sponsor’s logo. “Notre-Dame” replaced the player names on the back of the shirts.
The iconic Paris cathedral was damaged in a spectacular blaze last Monday.
The club said that they would put a limited edition of the shirts on sale on line during the match for 100 euros each. The club said the money “will be donated to associations related to firefighters.”
The club also posted a “Hommage to Notre Dame” video on their web site in which players praised the team-work of the Paris fire brigade and made a gesture that imitates the two famous towers that form part of the cathedral’s facade.
The club said it was also using Sunday’s game to thank the firefighters.
Paris Saint-Germain’s pursuit of a fifth successive French Cup title will be bolstered by the return of Neymar and Edinson Cavani from long-term injuries for Saturday’s showdown with Rennes at the Stade de France.
Neymar was found guilty of "insulting/molesting acts against match official," European football's governing body announced in a statement.
She is Modhi Al Ali, a young Emirati girl who has become part of Manchester City FC’s global campaign to get more women playing football.
Australia’s chances of defending the World Cup crown will depend on how well they play spin and use it, feels Ricky Ponting. “The thing that will define Australia’s success in the World Cup is, one, how well they bowl spin and, two, how well they play it,” Ponting told The Telegraph.
FIFA shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the world football body’s president Gianni Infantino. Infantino had proposed expanding the tournament and explored the idea of adding additional host nations.
Atalanta, facing one of the biggest matches in the club’s 112-year history, will be playing away at home on Sunday as they bid to pip one of the two Milan teams to a place in next season’s Champions League. The Bergamo team’s own stadium began rebuilding work this month
Afghanistan’s World Cup preparations were thrown off kilter when they controversially decided to replace successful captain Asghar Afghan with the little-known Gulbadin Naib two months before the tournament. Under Asghar, Afghanistan had made serious progress,