- Associated Press - Sunday, March 12, 2017

PARIS (AP) - Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier is in the spotlight again after taking nearly 10 minutes to come on as a substitute in Sunday’s 2-1 win at Lorient in the French league.

Manager Unai Emery wanted to take off Thomas Meunier, who appeared to have an ankle injury, in the 73rd minute but Aurier seemed unready to play.

Aurier was shown having an animated discussion with Emery. Minutes later, Aurier started putting on his shorts, socks, shirt and boots before finally coming on in the 81st minute.

Aurier is no longer first choice and has been competing with Meunier for the right back slot. After Sunday’s game, club captain Thiago Silva came to talk with Aurier as they walked off. Top scorer Edinson Cavani was asked about the substitution incident but said he wasn’t aware of it.

“I don’t know what happened,” Cavani said on Canal Plus television.

Aurier was heavily criticized midweek for failing to pick up Sergi Roberto inside the penalty area for Barcelona’s final goal in an astonishing 6-1 win that sent Barcelona through to the Champions League quarterfinals after losing the first leg 4-0.

The 24-year-old Aurier has courted controversy before.

In November, he missed a Champions League match at Arsenal after being banned from traveling to London by British authorities. Aurier’s visa was revoked by the British Home Office, PSG said, because the Ivory Coast player was sentenced to two months in prison in September for assaulting a police officer after a night out in May.

In February of last year, just days before a Champions League game against Chelsea, a video emerged on social media showing Aurier using sexually expletive terms to make derogatory comments about then PSG coach Laurent Blanc, striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and other PSG players. He was suspended for six weeks.

The French media was quick to pick up on Sunday’s incident, which comes at a bad time with tensions running high within the club.

On Friday, PSG disputed reports claiming midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti were in a nightclub 48 hours before the Barcelona defeat, and launched a stinging attack on leading sports daily L’Equipe for spreading “lies” about the celebrations PSG was allegedly planning for winning the Champions League.

The day before, angry PSG fans confronted the players at the airport when they returned from Barcelona. This led to frustrations spilling over and one car, reportedly driven by midfielder Thiago Motta, lightly touched a fan who was standing in the way.

PSG did not say if Motta or another player was driving the car, and added a police investigation was underway.

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