Ney­mar pledges ‘lots of tro­phies’ to PSG fans

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

PARIS: Brazil su­per­star Ney­mar re­ceived a hero’s wel­come from the Paris Saint-Ger­main faith­ful yes­ter­day as he vowed to win “lots of tro­phies” fol­low­ing his world record trans­fer. The 25-year-old was pre­sented to fans at the club’s Parc des Princes sta­dium ahead of their open­ing Ligue 1 match of the new cam­paign against Amiens. “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 over and again. “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 would have to watch his new team-mates from the stands against Amiens. But PSG had al­ready started to re­cu­per­ate part of his mam­moth trans­fer fee on Fri­day when he was of­fi­cially un­veiled as the most ex­pen­sive player in his­tory at 222 mil­lion eu­ros ($264m). The club sold more than 10,000 shirts with his name and No.10 on the back on Fri­day, bring­ing in around one mil­lion eu­ros. They also ex­pected to sell an­other 15,000 shirts yes­ter­day while a 45,000 sell-out crowd would watch the open­ing game of the sea­son. 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 30 mil­lion eu­ros 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 de­ci­sion he took lightly. “It was one of my most dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions. In Barcelona I had adapted well to the city and the team. I had friends there and it has not been easy,” he said. “It was a tense time, think­ing about what I should do in my life. I have left be­hind a lot of friends, but things go very fast in foot­ball.”

‘NOT TWO NEY­MARS’

Ney­mar will be­come the sec­ond high­est-paid player in the world-be­hind Car­los Tevez and his 38 mil­lion eu­ros a year at Shang­hai Shen­hua but ahead of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s 23.6 mil­lion eu­ros an­nual salary at Real Madrid. The trans­fer fee shat­tered the pre­vi­ous world record of 105 mil­lion eu­ros 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 for the player who came third in the Bal­lon d’Or in 2015 be­hind Messi and Ron­aldo. “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 scep­ti­cism at the role played by PSG’s own­ers Oryx Qatar Sports In­vest­ments (QSI) at a time of po­lit­i­cal cri­sis for the en­ergy-rich state which has been boy­cotted by its Gulf neigh­bours in re­cent months and will play host to the World Cup in 2022. But on Satur­day, Al-Khe­laifi was fo­cused more on suc­cess on the pitch as he hopes Ney­mar will help PSG win back the Ligue 1 crown they lost to Monaco last year, and fi­nally land the cov­eted Cham­pi­ons League. “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.” — AFP

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