Ney­mar tar­gets ‘ lots of tro­phies’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

PARIS — Brazil su­per­star Ney­mar re­ceived a hero’s wel­come from the Paris Sain­tGer­main faith­ful on Satur­day as he vowed to win “lots of tro­phies” fol­low­ing his worl­drecord trans­fer.

The 25-year-old was pre­sented to fans at the club’s Parc des Princes sta­dium ahead of a 2-0 vic­tory over Amiens in its open­ing Ligue 1 match of the new cam­paign.

“Thank you! I’m very happy, I’m de­lighted to be here for this new chal­lenge,” said Ney­mar as fire­works went off around him and fans chanted his name.

“I want to win lots of tro­phies with you and I need your sup­port to win th­ese tro­phies,” added the for­mer Barcelona and San­tos star.

“Paris is magic!” he said in French be­fore call­ing out the club’s motto: “Ici, c’est Paris! ( Here, it’s Paris!).

Hopes the Brazil captain would make his de­but for the club were dashed by red tape as his in­ter­na­tional trans­fer cer­tifi­cate wasn’t lodged in time with the French league, mean­ing he had to watch his new team­mates from the stands.

He wasn’t needed as PSG, which was pipped to the Ligue 1 ti­tle by Monaco last term, strolled to an easy vic­tory thanks to goals from Uruguayan Edin­son Ca­vani and Ar­gen­tine Javier Pa­s­tore, the lat­ter whose place in the team could come un­der threat by Ney­mar.

PSG had al­ready started to re­cu­per­ate part of Ney­mar’s $264 mil­lion trans­fer fee on Fri­day when he was of­fi­cially un­veiled as the most ex­pen­sive player in his­tory.

The club sold more than 10,000 shirts with his name and No 10 on the back on Fri­day, bring­ing in over $1 mil­lion.

They also ex­pected to sell an­other 15,000 shirts on Satur­day while a 45,000 sell-out crowd watched the open­ing game.

And money was the sub­ject of most of the ques­tions fired at the Brazil­ian when he was un­veiled to the me­dia on Fri­day af­ter ar­riv­ing in the French cap­i­tal on a pri­vate jet to sign a five-year con­tract with the Qatari-owned club.

“I want some­thing big­ger, a greater chal­lenge,” said Ney­mar, who is poised to earn around $35 mil­lion a year.

Ney­mar ad­mit­ted that leav­ing Barcelona, where he formed part of a lethal at­tack­ing trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, was not a deci- sion he took lightly.

“It was one of my most dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions. In Barcelona I had adapted well to the city and the team,” he said.

“It was a tense time, think­ing about what I should do in my life.”

Alves in­flu­enced

His Brazil­ian PSG team­mate Dani Alves, who once played with Ney­mar at Barcelona, said the new ar­rival had per­suaded him to move to Paris from Ju­ven­tus this sum­mer.

“Con­trary to what peo­ple think, it was he who ad­vised me to sign for PSG,” said Alves af­ter Satur­day’s game. “It wasn’t me who was telling him to come here.”

Ney­mar will be­come the sec­ond-high­est-paid player in the world — be­hind Car­los Tevez and his $45 mil­lion a year at Shang­hai Shen­hua but ahead of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s $28 mil­lion an­nual salary at Real Madrid.

The trans­fer fee shat­tered the pre­vi­ous world record of $127 mil­lion set by Manchester United in sign­ing France mid­fielder Paul Pogba last year from Ju­ven­tus.

It is an eye-wa­ter­ing sum, but one that PSG pres­i­dent Nasser Al-Khe­laifi in­sisted will even­tu­ally look like a bar­gain.

“There are not two Ney­mars in the world. I would love for us to meet in two years and see what his value will be com­pared to to­day. At least dou­ble,” said Al-Khe­laifi.

“I don’t think it’s ex­pen­sive, I’m con­vinced we are go­ing to earn more money with him. It’s a project of two brands: we’re as­so­ci­at­ing the Ney­mar brand and the PSG brand.”

There is skep­ti­cism at the role played by PSG’s own­ers Oryx Qatar Sports In­vest­ments (QSI), which pur­chased the club six years ago, at a time of po­lit­i­cal cri­sis for the en­ergy-rich state which has been boy­cotted by its Gulf neigh­bors in re­cent months and will host the 2022 World Cup.

How­ever, on Satur­day, Al-Khe­laifi was fo­cused more on suc­cess on the pitch as he hopes Ney­mar will help the 47-year-old club win back the league crown and land it its maiden Cham­pi­ons League tro­phy.

“We have a great star, a great player here with us to­day,” he said.

“Now we’re go­ing to work hard to win lots of tro­phies.”

CHRIS­TIAN HART­MANN / REUTERS

New Paris Saint-Ger­main sign­ing Ney­mar jug­gles the ball at his un­veil­ing at Parc des Princes on Fri­day.

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