Neymar insists his world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain was not motivated by a desire to be the star attraction, with the Brazilian having stepped out of Lionel Messi’s shadow at Barcelona.
The 25-year-old’s €222million switch was completed on Thursday and on Friday he was presented to the world’s media at the Parc des Princes.
It had been widely reported that Neymar wanted to be the main attraction for his club side, which was not likely to happen at Camp Nou given the presence of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.
But Neymar, who has penned a five-year deal, was quick to refute those claims.
“It didn’t impact my decision at all,” he said. “I wanted to come to Paris and it was only linked to my desire for a new challenge, not because I didn’t feel like a big star at Barcelona. This isn’t what I’m looking for in Paris.
“I’m here for new trophies, new challenges and this is what motivates me. I want to dream bigger.”
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Having left behind arguably the biggest team in the world, Neymar will now seek to boost the fortunes of a club he helped to knock out of last season’s Champions League in remarkable fashion.
European honours will be top of Unai Emery’s priorities as president Nasser Al-Khelaifi will demand more than just regaining the Ligue 1 title.
For his part, Neymar is excited to get started in the French capital, despite conceding to having agonised over the decision to leave Barca after four years.
“I’m really looking forward to starting to train with my new team-mates,” he added.
“It’s a question of ambition. I want something bigger, a bigger challenge, and my heart made this decision and this is why I’m here.
“It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever taken. I was at a great club, I love Barcelona and I have friends at the club. I had to think and re-think about what I want to achieve in my life.”
PSG have a sizeable contingent of Neymar’s compatriots and, though he said he did speak to them, he claims their presence held no sway over his final call to make the move.
“I spoke to the Brazilian players here at PSG and of course they were very happy for me to come here,” he said as he prepares to link up with Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Lucas Moura and ex-Barca team-mate Dani Alves.
“To be really honest, it wouldn’t have changed my approach at all [if Brazilians weren’t here]. This wasn’t an easy decision, as I’ve said. I wanted to think about what I wanted to do with my life.
“A lot of people wanted me to talk about it but it’s very complicated when you’re not sure about something. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure about what I wanted to do. It was impossible for me to answer.
“But as soon as I made the decision, I started communicating. I’m very happy. I always ask my heart and it told me to go to PSG.”
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