Friday, August 19, 2022

Neymar says he wants Paris Saint-Germain stay as PSG top Urawa Reds: ‘I don’t need to prove myself to anybody’

Neymar has declared his desire to remain with Paris Saint-Germain despite reports linking him with a move away from the French champions this summer. Pep Guardiola has already distanced himself from claims that Manchester City were offered Neymar as PSG undergo significant surgery with Luis Campos shaping the sporting project and Christophe Galtier arranging it on the pitch.

The Brazil international, now 30, could be available at the right price, much like Presnel Kimpembe who is of interest to Chelsea, but there are very few clubs with the financial capacity to afford Neymar’s transfer fee and massive salary without serious concessions from both the player and PSG.

“I still want to stay with the club,” he said Saturday at Saitama Stadium. “They have not told me anything yet, so I do not know what their plans are for me. I do not need to prove myself to anybody. I just need to play my game and I must be happy playing soccer.”

Asked about the situation following a 3-0 win over Urawa Red Diamonds, Galtier admitted that he is happy with what he has seen from the $222 million man so far but that the door is not closed to a potential departure this summer.

“Neymar has worked well since the season started,” said the Frenchman. “He seems happy to me too and is very fit. I addressed his situation at a press conference. We will see what happens in the future when the transfer market is closed. Personally, I do not know. One moment he is reportedly leaving, the next he is said to be staying. I have not had a private discussion with him on this subject yet. He does not seem bothered by everything that is being said and is full of joy when training.”

However, Galtier was clearer on the topic of Keylor Navas‘ future and confirmed that the Costa Rica international is second choice behind Gianluigi Donnarumma as his starting goalkeeper at Parc des Princes this coming season.

“Keylor made some important and decisive saves and is working very well,” Galtier said. “However, I was clear with the goalkeeper that I do not want to rotate. I want a No. 1 and he knows what I expect of him as the No. 2. I know that deep down there is a lot of frustration, but it is important for a club like PSG to have two very good goalkeepers.”

On the subject of star man Kylian Mbappe after his dramatic contract extension in the face of Real Madrid interest, Galtier is very happy with the French superstar’s impact on the squad and admitted that he will be missed against FC Nantes in Tel Aviv next week.

“Kylian is very happy, much like the squad,” he said. “I am happy and satisfied with what I am seeing in training. He is very ambitious for this team and very frustrated to be unavailable (suspended) for the Trophee des Champions.”

Leeds United target Arnaud Kalimuendo has been a pleasant surprise for PSG so far this preseason with two goals from two outings in Japan having also scored against Kawasaki Frontale in Tokyo during the first of three games for Les Parisiens.

“Arnaud had a very good season with Lens,” Galtier said. “Since returning to preseason, he has been making the most of his opportunities. He is in demand in France and abroad and having exchanged with him and Luis Campos after his last season, he is looking for a good amount of playing time. Clearly, I am satisfied with what he does in training each day and what he brings to each game, but there are market realities in the current transfer window. We will see as we advance and how the position of the club and Arnaud align.”

PSG continued their winning ways on their Japanese tour with a 3-0 victory over Urawa Reds in Saitama on Saturday. Returning loanee Pablo Sarabia opened the scoring after 16 minutes before Kylian Mbappe added a second 11 minutes before half-time at the 2002 FIFA World Cup venue. 

Second half substitute Kalimuendo added a third with 14 minutes to go in a half of gradual changes with local supporters irate at ticket prices for the PSG game compared with Bayern Munich in the past: “¥3,000 (around $22) for Urawa v. 6-time UCL winners Bayern, and ¥8,000 (nearly $60) for PSG who haven’t won UCL,” read a banner deployed by fans at the stadium. “You joking?”

Gamba Osaka are PSG’s final opponents in Japan on Monday and you can stream the game via CBS Sports Network and then follow the French giants UEFA Champions League campaign on Paramount+ once the season begins.

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