Neymar. PHOTO: ALAIN JOCARD / AFP
As the hysteria mounts ahead of Neymar’s Paris Saint-Germain debut on Sunday focus switched from his record transfer fee to the question of which star would make way for the Brazilian.
Le Parisien daily newspaper suggested it would be Javier Pastore, the silky but fragile Argentine who was the first major signing after PSG were bought by their ambitious Qatari owners, who splashed out a world record 222 million-euro ($261 million) for Neymar.
“After first giving up his No.10 shirt, will he (Pastore) now give him (Neymar) his place in the team,” one Le Parisien headline asked of the player who took up the No.10 shirt after Zlatan Ibrahimovic left last season, only to hand it to the Brazilian this season.
“Neymar will start on the left at the cost of Pastore,” the article claimed.
“So it’ll be Neymar, (Edinson) Cavani and without doubt (Angel) di Maria in a three pronged attack,” said Le Parisien, which then gave a long list of top signings who will be warming the PSG bench.
Alongside Pastore will be the Brazilian Lucas Moura, who is rumoured to be staying as he has been friends with Neymar since the age of nine, and Germany captain at the Confederations Cup Julian Draxler, who arrived just last year in a big money transfer of his own.
Sports daily L’Equipe saw things differently, though.
“Neymar – the football version,” ran their headline in a joke about how the most expensive transfer in football history has dominated news without the 25-year-old forward even kicking a ball yet.
“A trio of Neymar, Pastore and di Maria will support Cavani,” they predicted, but were unsure where the extra man would be cut.
In the tiny Brittany town of Guingamp, with a population of around 7,000, tickets for the match have been changing hands for a king’s ransom as the Stade du Roduourou has a capacity of just over 15,000.
“We could have filled a stadium of 40,000 seats with no problem at all,” Guingamp president Bertrand Desplat told local newspaper Le Telegramme.
“Remember the star of the show is going to be Neymar and for us we want to welcome this very special player and his team in the best conditions possible,” he said.
Journalists however may find themselves a bit squeezed for space as the rustic press tribune allowing for 80 press seats has been extended to a blockbuster 350.
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