Brazil­ian su­per­star pre­sented at PSG home ground but misses French League opener

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Paris, France - Brazil­ian su­per­star Ney­mar re­ceived a hero's wel­come from Paris Saint-Ger­main (PSG) fans at their Parc des Princes home on Satur­day as he vowed to win "lots of tro­phies" fol­low­ing his world record trans­fer. The 25 year old was pre­sented to fans on the pitch ahead of PSG’s open­ing French League match of the sea­son at home to Amiens, which it won 2-0.

"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. The club repli­cated his lin­guis­tic ef­forts with a mes­sage beamed around its dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing hoard­ings in Por­tuguese, "Bem-vindo Ney­mar Jr" - Wel­come Ney­mar Jr.

The Brazil­ian, who cost a stag­ger­ing US$264mn, then de­lighted fans by run­ning over to the end where PSG's most hard­core sup­port­ers con­verge and launched his jersey into the throng of deliri­ous 'Ul­tras'.

Hopes the Brazil cap­tain would make his de­but for the club on Satur­day 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 against Amiens.

The French gov­ern­ing body, the LFP, needed re­ceipt of the in­ter­na­tional trans­fer cer­tifi­cate by mid­night on Fri­day in France in or­der to reg­is­ter Ney­mar to be able to play on Satur­day af­ter­noon. But as the clock ticked down on Fri­day evening, the LFP

was still to re­ceive the doc­u­ments from the Span­ish foot­ball au­thor­i­ties.

Span­ish League of­fi­cials have been highly crit­i­cal of the move in re­cent days with pres­i­dent Javier Te­bas stat­ing that the Span­ish League will make a com­plaint and ac­cus­ing the

French club of 'fi­nan­cial dop­ing'.

But PSG had al­ready started to re­coup a part of its mas­sive out­lay on Ney­mar on Fri­day when he was of­fi­cially un­veiled as the most ex­pen­sive player in his­tory at US$264mn. More than 10,000 shirts were sold in a sin­gle day, bring­ing in around

US$1.2mn. PSG is also ex­pected to sell an­other 15,000 shirts on Satur­day while a 45,000 sell-out crowd watched 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 US$35.3mn 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."

Ney­mar will be­come the sec­ond high­est-paid player in the world - be­hind Car­los Tevez and his US45mn a year at Shang­hai Shen­hua but ahead of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo's US$28mn an­nual salary at Real Madrid. The trans­fer fee shat­tered the pre­vi­ous world record of US$124mn 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 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."

On Satur­day, Khe­laifi was fo­cused more on suc­cess on the pitch as he hopes Ney­mar will help PSG win back the French League crown it 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."


Ney­mar shows his ball skills dur­ing his of­fi­cial pre­sen­ta­tion at the Parc des Princes Sta­dium in Paris, France, on Satur­day


Ney­mar (cen­tre) waves to the crowd as PSG pres­i­dent Nasser al Khe­laifi (left) looks on dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion to the fans in Paris on Satur­day

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