Ney­mar watches on as PSG win

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

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.

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