Is Neal Maupay the Premier League’s biggest VILLAIN? French forward nicked goal celebrations from Wilfried Zaha and James Maddison, clashed with two Arsenal players and riled Emi Martinez… all before his Kyle Walker spat!
Neal Maupay enjoys being a footballer that rivals and opponents love to hate.
The French striker was up to his antics again and clashed with Manchester City captain Kyle Walker just a week after his controversial darts goal celebration against Tottenham.
But they are just the latest in a growing list of Maupay crimes that make the 27-year-old a veritable Marmite character in the Premier League.
Walker was furious at something Maupay said during Monday’s 3-1 City win at the Gtech Community Stadium.
It comes after the England full-back split from wife Annie Kilner after fathering a second child with Lauryn Goodman.
Neal Maupay was involved in a heated exchange with an incensed Kyle Walker as Brentford played Manchester City on Monday night.
Kyle Walker threatened to punch out Neal Maupay after he claimed the Brentford striker taunted him about his children, an expert lip-reader has revealed
Walker – who was booed by the Brentford fans following the news that he had fathered a second child with Lauryn Goodman – broke out in the 81st minute of City’s 3-1 win
The Manchester City captain split from wife Annie Kilner (left) last month after he was named as the father of Goodman’s (right) five-month-old daughter
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Walker admitted his infidelity in a candid interview with The sun, saying: ‘What I did is horrible and I take full responsibility. I made idiot choices and idiot decisions.
‘I can’t begin to think or imagine what Annie is going through. I tried to ask her, but there is pain and hurt.’
While neither City boss Pep Guardiola nor Brentford’s Thomas Frank have commented on what Maupay said to Walker, a lip reader told Mail Sport that Walker claimed Maupay had made a comment about his children, prompting his furious response elicited
The abuse came just days after Maupay clashed with James Maddison after mimicking the Tottenham star’s trademark dart celebration.
After scoring the game’s opening goal, Maupay mocked Maddison’s celebration and it led to an awkward exchange in which the pair slapped each other before the Brentford man walked away smiling to himself.
“I just told him he probably hasn’t scored enough goals of his own in the last few years to have his own celebration so he should copy mine,” Maddison told TNT Sports afterwards.
After Spurs won the game 3-2, Maupay was forced to eat humble pie, instead putting out a cheeky Instagram post which read: ‘Got a bit early with that one. Only we couldn’t win. More goals and fewer relegations in my career than James Maddison.’
Maupay upset James Maddison by copying his darts celebration after scoring against Tottenham
The pair then engaged in a strange exchange after Maddison took exception
Maupay said in an Instagram post that he had ‘more goals and fewer relegations’ than Maddison
Maddison posted a photo of Maupay on Instagram to which the latter responded ‘rent free’
True – Maupay has 100 goals in 362 first-team outings during his career compared to Maddison’s 81 in 335 games for club and country – but then he is also a striker as opposed to an attacking midfielder.
The pair later traded more Instagram comments and Maddison said ‘there’s nothing wrong with a bit of needle’ when interviewed ahead of Tottenham’s game against Everton on Saturday.
Other Maupay incidents were nastier. He is despised by Arsenal fans after injuring goalkeeper Bernd Leno and then clashing with Matteo Guendouzi while playing for Brighton in June 2020.
Leno’s screams of pain echoed around an empty Amex Stadium – with fans locked out due to the Covid-19 pandemic – after Maupay dropped the Arsenal keeper awkwardly after lunging into him.
The knee ligament damage he suffered ruled the German out for Arsenal’s final 11 games that season and – furiously – he pointed his finger in Maupay’s direction as he was carried off on a stretcher.
At the final whistle, after Maupay scored Brighton’s winner in stoppage time, all social distancing went out the window as Guendouzi grabbed him by the throat.
Maupay was involved in a clash with Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno in June 2020
The German goalkeeper sounded after Maupay as he was carried off injured on a stretcher
At the end of the match, Matteo Guendouzi grabbed Maupay by the throat when players clashed.
Maupay (left) and Guendouzi (right) had to be separated by teammates as they collided
The pair had to be separated by teammates and coaching staff, with Sead Kolasinac also particularly keen to make his feelings about Maupay clear.
While Maupay did apologize for hurting Leno, he couldn’t resist a bit in his post-game interview.
“Some of the Arsenal players need to learn humility sometimes. They talked a lot first half, second half when they were 1-0 up – they got what they deserved,’ he said.
Things actually worked out worse for Guendouzi – although he escaped FA punishment, Mikel Arteta banned him from training alone with a fitness trainer due to problems with his attitude and general behaviour. He did not play for Arsenal again.
In September 2021, Maupay again courted controversy after copying Wilfried Zaha’s celebration by pressing his hands to his ears after scoring a last-minute equalizer for Brighton against bitter rivals Crystal Palace.
Zaha was annoyed by Maupay’s actions and players from both sides clashed after the 1-1 draw.
“Football is nothing without fans and some involvement with players,” Maupay said afterwards.
Wilfried Zaha has given Brighton fans an earful after scoring for Crystal Palace in 2021
Maupay then equalized late on and copied Zaha’s celebration to excite the Palace fans
This led to some unsavory scenes between the two sets of players at the final whistle
‘The atmosphere was really tough and when I scored I looked at Zaha and smiled at him because when he got his penalty he celebrated and he gave some to our fans.
‘I won’t say what he said and what I said, but you know how it is sometimes with players on the pitch.
“Sometimes you talk on the pitch and it was the perfect time to give him something.”
Earlier this season, Maupay was involved in a fracas with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez while playing for Brentford.
The Argentine goalkeeper threw himself to the ground after Maupay tackled him before pushing the striker to the floor himself in retaliation.
When Martinez then grabbed Maupay by the shirt to try to drag him back to his feet, a bigger altercation ensued.
Maupay also clashed with Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez earlier this season
Brentford trolled Martinez by wishing him well in his ‘recovery from injury’ and Maupay took a dig at the goalkeeper by claiming he helped launch his career by injuring Leno in 2020.
Martinez was a full-back at Arsenal for a decade before seizing his opportunity to impress when Leno was injured.
With a move to Villa in September 2020, his performances saw him become Argentina’s No.1 and win the 2022 World Cup.
Maupay said: ‘I’ve had so many messages saying “you’ve basically won the World Cup”… He should be grateful, shouldn’t he. It was so lucky that Leno was injured.’
Although they remain his parent club, it’s also fair to say Everton fans aren’t all that impressed with Maupay after he managed just one goal in 29 games for them last season.
But at Brentford, Maupay seems determined to be right in the dark.