Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Emery embracing Neymar whirlwind as PSG aim to conquer the world

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 23 Aug 2017

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Unai Emery has no doubt the introduction of Neymar will have a positive long-term impact on Paris Saint-Germain, as the Ligue 1 powerhouse aim to become the best team in the world.

PSG smashed the world transfer record by activating a €222million release clause in Neymar’s contract to capture the 25-year-old forward from Barcelona.

The Brazil international has made a fast start to life on the pitch in France, scoring three times in his first two appearances.

However, it emerged this week that a legal battle involving the expensively acquired star is looming. 

Barca have alleged Neymar breached his contract in sealing an exit from Camp Nou, while the player has accused the Spanish club of failing to pay him a loyalty bonus, a complaint which is under investigation from FIFA. 

Speaking to the media ahead of PSG’s home game against Saint-Etienne on Friday, Emery was asked about the potential impact – both good and bad – of the stunning transfer coup. 

“It is a positive thing, now and for the future,” he replied.

Questioned about what the arrival of Neymar and his countryman Dani Alves means for PSG’s ambitions in the campaign ahead, Emery said: “Our objective is to be amongst the best teams in the world.

“First, the [league] championship is very important for the group, as well as the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue.

“But of course, the Champions League is a very important objective to the club. We will closely follow the draw tomorrow. 

“The staff, the club and the players are motivated by all the competitions, but especially the Champions League. To the other teams, it is clear that PSG has become a very serious contender.”

Marco Verratti had been a reported target for Barca before PSG unexpectedly swooped to lure away one of the Catalan club’s prized assets.

The Italy midfielder will be suspended for this weekend’s match at Parc des Princes after being sent off in the 6-2 home win over Toulouse, but Emery is not concerned about the 24-year-old’s attitude.  

“Verratti plays with emotions, on the pitch he’s like he is in real life,” the Spanish coach said.

“He has a competitive spirit. I’m not worried as he knows that he has to improve and he did last year.”

Thiago Silva has started all of PSG’s three league games this season but, according to Emery, the experienced defender is likely to find himself rested at times in 2017-18.

“Thiago Silva is the captain of this team so he’s an important player,” he said.

“He is very motivated and trains like a youngster. I’m very satisfied. Of course I’m going to plan rotations and I have already talked to the concerned players. 

“I’m planning rotations a month ahead. Silva, Marquinhos and [Presnel] Kimpembe are part of this plan.”

Emery also confirmed Javier Pastore is in contention to feature in Verratti’s absence. 

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