PARIS: Brazilian superstar Neymar took little time to seduce the press in his new home with a goalscoring debut for Paris Saint-Germain at Guingamp.
“Already charmed,” said sports daily l’Equipe in response to the 25-year-old’s starring role in Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) 3-0 win in Brittany.
“An assist, a goal, class play: NEYMAR succeeded in his PSG debut.”
For Le Parisien newspaper it was smiles all round as “Neymar relishes, Paris gorge”.
“The Parisian club’s marquee signing, Neymar got stronger as the game progressed before scoring his first goal in his new colors.”
Neymar-mania showed no signs of abating in France, and in particular the capital, as the 222-million-euro ($264m) forward started life with PSG in emphatic fashion, linking up perfectly with fellow South Americans Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria in a potent front-line.
“Neymar Jr did what he had to so that images of Guingamp, on the Cotes d’Armor, with 7,000 inhabitants, traveled all over the planet, from India to Bolivia and Lapland to Tierra del Fuego: he scored right from his first match in Ligue 1, engulfing this twilight of a new day in an air of celebration,” said columnist Vincent Duluc in l’Equipe.
“We could have worried that the Brazilian would do too much, or too little, but no, no reservations, not a drop out of place, just enough greed to remind everyone that that you don’t get big players without big egos.”
Former France coach Raymond Domenech said in l’Equipe that the “complicity” with Uruguayan striker Cavani was immediately obvious.
Such was the intense attention on Neymar that Colombian forward Radamel Falcao’s sensational hat-trick for champions Monaco in a 4-1 romp at Dijon, and the on-going saga of their attempts to keep hold of teenage French starlet Kylian Mbappe were relegated to the shadows.
“At the heart of the play,” said l’Equipe, who described Neymar as PSG’s “motor”, despite giving away possession several times.
Despite linking well with Cavani and Argentine Di Maria, Neymar may soon have a new striking partner in Mbappe, if l’Equipe is to be believed.
“Mbappe, an air of rupture,” said the newspaper in reference to the 18-year-old being left on the bench by Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim for the entire 90 minutes against Dijon.
He is rumored to want a move to PSG.
Le Parisien, predictably, concentrated on eulogies directed at Neymar, quoting his Brazilian-born Italy international team-mate Thiago Motta: “It’s a privilege to have him with us.”
And likewise the praise from former Guingamp player and now France assistant coach Guy Stephan gushed as he marveled at Neymar’s “unpredictability and seductiveness.”