French League: Neymar shines on PSG debut, thrash Guingamp 3-0
The world's most expensive player provided a pulsating evening's entertainment at the Stade du Roudourou on Sunday, with one goal and an assist, as PSG overcame strong resistance from Guingamp to win 3-0 in the French league.
Declaring he was "more alive than ever," Neymar did not disappoint on his debut for Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar was named the man of the match, and it was deserved.
"I'm very happy with the trophy (man of the match), but the most important (thing) was to win," Neymar said through a translator. "I knew it would be difficult to leave Barca, but I'm very happy to be here. People believe that leaving Barca is like to die. But I'm more alive than ever. I'm very happy, and the football is the same."
Neymar, who signed from Barcelona last week, missed the start of the season at the Parc des Princes against Amiens due to paperwork problems. Hired for a world-record 222 million euros ($262 million), he started on the left wing of PSG's attack in the small Brittany town.
Neymar looked intensely focused from the start, easily switching from one wing to the other, and often taking a playmaker role.
Pre-match festivities in the small Brittany town included some fireworks, but Neymar was jeered by a handful of fans as he came on the pitch to warm up with his teammates, pointing a finger toward the sky. By the end, many local fans gave him a standing ovation.
Neymar's first touch in the French league was a long ball for Angel Di Maria that landed on the edge of the box, but the Argentine player could not latch onto it.
Neymar's vision, acceleration and through balls in a weaker league than Spain's unsettled Guingamp's back four, and his trademark dribbles were also on display at the Roudourou. Midfielder Lucas Deaux will be remembered as the first French league player to be nutmegged by the former Barcelona star.
Encouragingly for PSG, Neymar has already gelled with Cavani, with both players finding each other instinctively despite the lack of space in the Guingamp box.
The big question that immediately emerged when Neymar signed with PSG was how he could fit into coach Unai Emery's system. Neymar proved he can play well with the Uruguay forward, especially if Emery continues to use Cavani in a central position.
"I knew he was a top player," Neymar said about Cavani. "Now I'm playing with him. He is a great player, and when you have such great players in a team, it's easy."
Neymar said it was easy to fit into the team.
"You may not believe it, but in the friendlies that Barcelona was playing in the beginning of the season, I was already playing in that position, more on the inside and sometimes on the flanks. Our coach likes us to float around in the middle, he left me very comfortable. I am feeling very well."
(With AP Inputs).