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NEYMAR has been hit with a two match ban for punching Marseille star Alvaro Gonzalez.

Ligue 1 have also opened an investigation following the striker's claim that he was racially abused.

5Neymar was dismissed after he hit his rival in the back of the head Credit: Icon Sport - Getty 5Neymar watched from the stands as beat Metz 1-0 on TuesdayCredit: AFP or licensors

Neymar watched from the stands on Tuesday as PSG beat Metz 1-0 in the league.

He was one of five players to receive a red card when a brawl kicked off after Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 defeat.

According to Get French Football News, all five of the stars involved have been hit with match bans.

PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa has been banned for six matches for his part in the brawl.

Leandro Paredes received the same punishment as Neymar and will also miss two matches.

Marseille forward Dario Benedetto has been given a one-game ban while team-mate Jordan Amacvi will miss the next three.

Neymar was given his marching orders by VAR after he punched Alvaro in the back of the head.

The former Barcelona star accused the Spanish defender of racially abusing him.

5Chaos erupted on the ditch following Marseille's 1-0 win over their rivalsCredit: Reuters 5Neymar was one of five players that were sent off Credit: AFP or licensors MOST READ IN SPORT'FOUL SMELL' Man ‘traveled 400 miles on bus with DISMEMBERED body of woman in 3 suitcases''BLOOD EVERYWHERE''Cannibal killer' butchered ex with electric saw and 'ate BRAIN & heart'OFF THE WALLKanye West builds WALL around LA home as marriage to Kim Kardashian crumbles'BLESSED'Alaskan Bush People star Bear's son turns 6 months old as he still hasn't met himFIRE BUGBLM rioter who ‘firebombed cop cars’ arrested after Apple gave up his iCloud picsAT TRUMP'S DOOR'Multiple White House staffers' test positive for coronavirus

Neymar - who has been accused of calling Gonzalez a "f*****g q***r - claimed the Marseille star called him a "monkey son of a b****."

Alvaro issued a lengthy anti-racism statement on Twitter as he insisted: "There is no place for racism".

PSG backed Neymar following him claims - and French governing body LFP are now investigating the case.

Neymar took matters into his own hands as he claimed on Twitter that Gonzalez is "not a man", a "racist" and "I don't respect you."

He issued a further statement on his Instagram story that explained he "revolted" and "could not leave without doing something".

Marseille released a statement on Monday that denied Gonzalez is racist following the brawl.

5Neymar has claimed he was a victim of racist abuse Credit: AFP or licensors

The French club revealed the 30-year-old has since received death threats.

It read: "Alvaro Gonzalez is not racist, he demonstrated it to us by his daily behaviour since joining the club, and his team-mates have already testified."

Angel Di Maria is also set to appear in front of the LFP disciplinary committee following claims that he spat in the direct of Gonzalez.

Neymar ‘faces SEVEN game ban’ for punching Marseille defender Alvaro as PSG support star amid racism accusations

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Dermot O’Leary says to never lose hope of having kids as he opens up about first-time fatherhood

SINCE most of the news this year has been so bleak, how refreshing it is to talk to Dermot O’Leary, whose world has changed beyond measure, but for the best possible reason.

Because while most of us were grappling with the challenges of lockdown and then the uncertainty of emerging from it, Dermot and his producer/director wife Dee Koppang O’Leary have been ensconced in a newborn baby bubble with little Kasper.

12Dermot O'Leary welcomed baby Kasper with wife Dee Koppang O’Leary in JuneCredit: Dee Koppang O’Leary

And you couldn’t meet a prouder, happier new dad – three months in and he’s even relishing the sleepless nights.

“It’s all been great. When your friends tell you about all the nappy changes or waking up in the middle of the night, you think: ‘Ooh, that sounds hard’,” says Dermot, speaking publicly about fatherhood for the first time.

“But when it’s your own, none of that matters at all. You just go: ‘Heeey, it’s you! I like you! Let’s go and change your nappy!’ So I’m really enjoying it, it’s been wonderful.

"We’ve been in that lovely foggy bubble that everyone talks about but you can’t appreciate until you’re in it. And it’s just a lovely place to be.”

12Three months into parenthood and Dermot's even relishing the sleepless nightsCredit: Dee Koppang O’Leary

Dermot, 47, revealed Kasper Koppang O’Leary’s very cool name live on his Radio 2 show, 10 days after the June 23 birth, also disclosing that Kasper had very aptly come into the world to the anthemic Elbow track One Day Like This.

But he confides there was some deliberation before they finally settled on “Kasper – with a K”.

He says: “We knew the sex, but we didn’t tell anyone – and over nine months, it’s really hard not to have leakage.

"But we debated over the name! We didn’t have any disagreements, but we wanted to see what he looked like before we decided.

12Dermot reveals there was some deliberation before they settled on calling their son 'Kasper – with a K'Credit: Instagram/Dee Koppang O’Leary

“We actually had a couple of names lined up and we took him in for a little bit, ummed and ahhed for a while and decided: ‘Yeah, it’s Kasper!’”

After Dermot and Dee married in 2012, he often spoke of their wish to start a family.

But the path to parenthood isn’t always simple and just a few days after announcing her pregnancy earlier this year, Dee, 41, referred to their “rocky road to get here” in a moving Instagram post.

The message prompted hundreds of responses, clearly resonating with many experiencing the anguish of struggling to conceive.

12Dermot insists he and wife Dee are 'not celebs'Credit: Dee Koppang O’Leary

And although this is obviously an intensely personal situation and Dee and Dermot have always been a private couple (“we’re not ‘celebs’,” he says), he echoes her words of solidarity to anyone currently walking that same rocky road.

“Don’t lose hope,” he says. “Just keep going and you’ll find resolution one way or another, whether it’s through adoption or IVF or whatever.

"Because if you really want to be a parent and you want to bring a kid up in a loving, nurturing and supportive household, then you should do your utmost to do so.

“And I know it’s very easy to say these things, because none of that is science. But there are always ways.”

12After Dermot and Dee married in 2012, he often spoke of their wish to start a familyCredit: PA

He says that one day, when she’s ready and the time is right, Dee, a keen photographer who shot Dermot at their north London home for our cover today, will share their journey in the hope that it helps others who are going through a similar experience.

“I’m very proud of her. She’s been brilliant and I’m sure she’ll write about it eventually. I’m just so proud of how she’s gone about talking about it, and the fact that it’s resonated with people has been really touching.”

Holding up his phone, he shows a picture of Kasper, who looks completely delicious with a mop of dark hair.

At first, Dermot and Dee’s beloved cats, Toto and Socks, were a little put out by his arrival – although, thankfully, both have since come round to the family’s newest member.


“I’ve been so surprised by it. I wasn’t exactly worried, but it was a concern because we love our cats and we didn’t want them to have to be put away in a different room.

“I mean, they have their moments when he’s a bit windy or cries and they’re a bit like: ‘What is that?’ But for the most part they’ve been really good.

"Toto is super-protective, she’s like a dog with him. She’ll get on the end of the bed and almost look out in a protective manner.

“Socks is a little bit more circumspect, but it’s been really good.”

We had that early baby period being able to spend proper time with just him

Dermot O'Leary

Of course, locked down and in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t the world Dermot and Dee ever imagined bringing a baby into.

But in some ways it’s been a blessing, allowing them time and space to adjust to family life and their new normal.

“In one respect, you want to get out there for him to meet everyone and see the world. But in another, it’s been quite special because it does give you that enforced time together.

"We had that early baby period being able to spend proper time with just him.

12Dermot says lockdown has allowed the new family time and space to adjustCredit: Dee Koppang O’Leary

“Also, if the diary had been different and The X Factor was on, I’d have been in America [filming judges’ houses] and missing quite a lot of it.

"So even though it’s a hideous situation, the stars have kind of aligned for us to be able to spend this time together.

“It’s been an unsettling time, but with a silver lining for us that I’ve been able to be here.”

Dermot has a very clear memory of the night the country went into lockdown back in March – he felt the shift along with a pang of apprehension about what lay ahead.

12Dermot has a very clear memory of the night the country went into lockdown back in MarchCredit: Dee Koppang O’Leary

“I’m not a particularly anxious person, but I think it’s really important how it’s been OK to say you’re feeling a bit of anxiety about the situation.

“I remember putting the bins out and I looked up into the sky and thought, ‘OK, the world is going to be a very different place now.’

"It was deathly quiet and we live in an area where there is always life, but the streets were deserted. It really brought it home to me and I felt this little twinge of anxiety.

“As human beings, we adjust to our reality and that’s what I always tried to keep in mind.”

12Dermot’s lockdown was also spent putting the finishing touches to the fourth bookCredit: Dee Koppang O’Leary

As well as preparing for the impending birth, Dermot’s lockdown was also spent putting the finishing touches to the fourth book in his excellent Toto The Ninja Cat children’s series.

This latest escapade, Toto The Ninja Cat And The Mystery Jewel Thief, sees Toto (who is based on Dermot’s real-life rescue cat) and her motley crew go in search of a precious diamond cat collar, stolen from the animal crown jewels at the Tower of London.

Just like the previous three books, it’s witty, full of heart and complemented perfectly by Nick East’s brilliant illustrations.

Dermot says, “When I first started five years ago, it was because we had a blind cat who had ninja-like tendencies and I thought I’d give it a go and see if I could do it.


"I had no idea how good it would be, but when you meet kids who have read the book, that’s when the penny drops.

“I don’t want to sound like a beauty queen, but when people come up to me and say: ‘My kid doesn’t really read, but he’s started to read your book’, that’s when… well, I get something in my eye.

“What’s been really touching recently is how many books I’ve been sent by friends for Kasper, saying this is a book they were read as a child or read to their kids, and that notion of legacy is really sweet.

"God, if I’ve ever been bought for a child for that reason then I’ll be over the moon.”

To be honest, if you do the job I do, you always feel a bit of imposter syndrome

Dermot O'Leary

Sales of over 180,000 (and counting) speak for themselves, but Dermot is absolutely upfront about the fact it was his name that got his foot in the door with publishers.

It gave him an advantage over lesser-known aspiring children’s authors, but did that mean he felt he had something extra to prove, to show he wasn’t just another celebrity author jumping on a pretty crowded bandwagon?

“To be honest, if you do the job I do, you always feel a bit of imposter syndrome.

"Because I started doing TV when I was 24 and I’m now 47, when you do something a bit out of your lane, you do feel you have to try twice as hard to get recognised for it.

12Dermot, pictured with One Direction, says he loves The X Factor 'so much'Credit: Shutterstock Editorial

“I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but as a society we’re far too myopic in the way we look at what people do. We are kind of: ‘Stay in your lane’.

“If someone wants to be a TV presenter or work in radio then I’m fully supportive of it if they do it the right way. Work hard and learn how to do that job, as opposed to being parachuted into it.

“In the same way, I’ve got no time for people who don’t write their own books. If that’s the route they want to go down, fine, but it’s not for me.

"I insisted when I first started that I wanted to do this myself.

12Dermot is upfront about the fact it was his name that got his foot in the door with publishersCredit: PA:Press Association

“When we go out [on a book tour] again I’d really like to take an author with me who might well be more experienced than me, but who doesn’t have the same profile.

"Almost like when you see bands play live, there’s a support act.

"I’d be more than happy to do that because getting kids reading is the most important thing – there are some great untold stories out there and as a book-writing community we should all support each other.”

Dermot reached out to fellow children’s author and friend David Walliams recently when a social-media storm saw a backlash against his bestselling books, such as The World’s Worst Parents, which were accused of being “sneering, classist, fat-shaming nonsense” by food writer and activist Jack

12Dermot says both his cats have come round to the family’s newest memberCredit: Instagram

“Yeah, I dropped him a line because I felt for him at the time,” says Dermot.

“I know David and he’s a pure of heart man. He plays the curmudgeon, but he’s a really decent guy who adores writing children’s books and where that level of imagination takes them.

"We’ve chatted long and hard about that in the past and I know he doesn’t mean any offence to anyone. And I think his books are, for the most part, really inclusive.”

Conversations with Dermot are varied and never dull.

In the wardrobe with Dermot

What was your lockdown look?

Stripped back! But the most important thing was to get up, get showered and get dressed.

Most worn item?

At the moment I’m living in J.Crew shorts around the house.

How has your style evolved over the years?

It’s about dressing to your age. I’m 47 and, while I don’t need to dress like an old man, I can’t dress like a 20 year old, either. I worked out what suited me while I was in my 30s.

What are your favourite labels?

Private White, Slowear, Sunspel, Orlebar Brown.

Best on the high street?

Uniqlo do brilliant work, as do Gap, H&M and J.Crew. There is some good stuff out there.

Who’s your style icon?

Dead or alive? For dead, I’d have to say Paul Newman. And alive, Bill Nighy, Daniel Craig and George Clooney always look incredible. Tom Hanks, too.

He’s sincere, unfailingly generous with his time and the limited sleep he must be getting at the moment hasn’t dimmed any of his natural enthusiasm for chat as we veer from TV to politics, podcasts to Brexit, and his “obsession” with maritime history to the love/hate relationship he has with social media.

“If you want to go down a rabbit hole,” he says, “Twitter is a great place and can be wonderful. But if you want a genuine, sensible discussion, nuance and debate, get off Twitter.”

His passion for human-interest stories and in-depth interviews has led to a second series of his engaging podcast People, Just People with Audible (“Exactly what the world needs – another white guy in his 40s with a podcast,” he jokes), and he hopes to make more Reel Stories – musical retrospectives told through archive footage and clips, which have so far featured Kylie Minogue, Noel Gallagher and Rod Stewart.

The future of The X Factor is less certain, however – Dermot, who has hosted the show since 2007, points out that: “It’s on a hiatus at the moment, so we’ll see.”

12Dermot says he'll look for 'other opportunities' if The X Factor doesn't returnCredit: Rex Features

But if, as rumoured, the show doesn’t return, could that provide a good opportunity for a clean break and a new chapter for himself?

“I love the show so much so I’d never look at it that way,” he says.

“But when they took the decision to rest it, of course it necessitates a change in outlook.

"Like when I didn’t do the show for a year [in 2015, when Caroline Flack and Olly Murs were handed the presenting role, before Dermot was asked back the following year], it was a case of: ‘OK, what am I going to do now? What do I want to do now? What’s out there?’ Just don’t panic, don’t go knee-jerk.

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“It’s actually really interesting to see how radio has been received and how people have engaged with it during Covid. I’ve actually never felt more privileged to be on the radio than I do now.”

He adds: “I think we’ve got to wait and see when it’s safe and healthy to come back and if The X Factor returns, great. And if it doesn’t, I’ll look for other opportunities.

“But the most important thing is to hold your nerve.”

  • Toto The Ninja Cat And The Mystery Jewel Thief by Dermot O’Leary (Hodder Children’s Books) is out in hardback now
Dermot O’Leary welcomes baby boy with wife Dee as he becomes a dad for the first time

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