Neymar watches on as PSG win
PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday beat Amiens 2-0 in their first game of the Ligue 1 season, but the star of the match was a player who didn’t even make it to the substitutes’ bench.
The Parisian club were officially presenting Neymar to the fans, two days after paying a record-breaking 222 million euros to release the Brazilian from his contract with Barcelona. Well before the match was scheduled to start, the north-eastern Auteuil Stand was already filled with hardcore supporters and members of the Collectif Ultras Paris, waving blue and red flags.
Eventually the curtains to the tunnel parted to reveal club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
He was followed moments later by the man himself, wearing the blue and maroon No 10 jersey that Javier Pastore ceded to him.
“Welcome to the Park,” Al-Khelaifi said, as Neymar turned around and waved to the cheering stands, placing his hand on his heart.
“Merci,” Neymar said to a massive cheer, before turning to his native Portuguese: “I intend to win lots of trophies with you and I will need your support for those trophies.”
And then he played to the crowd with classic PSG slogans: “Paris c’est magique,” “Paris is magic.”
“Ici c’est…” – “This is…”, Neymar called out, and the crowd completed the slogan for him, roaring “Paris!”
After all that, the match itself was something of an anti-climax.
PSG comprehensively outclassed newly-promoted Amiens, but without any of the fireworks that had – literally – accompanied Neymar’s arrival.
It was “12-man victory,” sports newspaper L’Equipe headlined yesterday’s edition.
On an inside page, columnist Melisande Gomez sardonically remarked: “Neymar is like electricity or antibiotics: as soon as you’ve got him you wonder how you managed without him all these years.”
PSG next travel to face Guingamp on August 13 and, the following week, Neymar should take to the Parc des Princes pitch for the first time against Toulouse.