Neymar starred as Paris Saint-Germain sent out a statement of intent with an impressive 3-0 Champions League victory over Bayern Munich.
It took PSG less than two minutes to break the deadlock in the Group B clash against Bayern, as world-record signing Neymar teed up fellow Brazilian Dani Alves to hammer home.
Bayern piled on the pressure but failed to take their chances, before Edinson Cavani finished a sweeping counter-attack with an exquisite strike into the top corner.
Unai Emery’s men finished off their visitors in the 63rd minute when Neymar pounced after Kylian Mbappe had bamboozled the Bayern defence.
Here we analyse the performance of Neymar and Bayern Munich attacker James Rodriguez…
Goals – 1
Assists – 1
Shots – 4
Shots on target – 2
Touches – 78
Key passes – 2
Passes – 43
Dispossessed – 3
Goals – 0
Shots – 1
Shots on target – 0
Touches – 41
Passes – 26
Key passes – 1
Dribbles – 1
Dispossessed – 3
No PSG player had more touches of the ball than Neymar and he was also leading the way on shots with Cavani, which gives you a strong indication of his influence.
In truth, Mbappe stole the show but on the counter PSG are absolutely frightening with the French teenager combining telepathically with both Cavani and Neymar countless times.
Alves’ opener was smooth as silk from Neymar as he registered another assist meaning he has more than any other player since he moved to Europe in 2013. He should have scored more than the one, though, his shooting wild at times but in terms of getting PSG on the front foot, he was direct and always a threat.
Ancelotti opted to play with Rodriguez and Muller as his two wide men in a 4-2-3-1 and to be honest neither provide genuine width in comparison to Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
The Colombian was operating on the left but you could see his temptation to drift inside repeatedly and he was getting caught in congested areas as a result.
Clearly, he’s far more suited to the No10 role because he looked completely average whenever he did manage to get on the ball. He was brought off at half-time for Kingsley Coman which probably tells you everything you need to know in regards to his imprint on this game.
2nd min ASSIST: Slick stuff from Neymar who incisively cuts in from the right and is allowed to drift inside to weight a perfect pass into the path of Alves who has made a clever run into the box and smashes home the opener.
21st min CHANCE: PSG’s rapid slingshot counters are a feature already and Neymar is slipped in with acres of space but his first touch is careless and Bayern stopper Ulreich can gather the ball. Should have scored.
36th min CHANCE: Simply sublime from Mbappe who gets the ball just on the halfway line, drops his shoulder and accelerates away from Sule, he crosses low for Neymar who delightfully flicks the ball back for Cavani but his effort is tame and Ulreich saves comfortably with his right leg.
49th min CHANCE: Another rapid counter and this time Neymar and Mbappe combine for the latter playing the Brazilian into space but he can’t find his balance he slices horribly wide. Who is there to console him? Cavani.
62nd min GOAL: Neymar on the scoresheet but it’s all about Mbappe. Alves sprints clear from deep, he feeds Mbappe after he intelligently steps in and then out to find space. The teenager completely sells Alba in the box with a dummy and his shot is well saved only for Neymar to pounce on the rebound from yards out to finish.
10th min CROSS: The Colombian beats both Verratti and Alves on the left wing and he sprints to the byline before dinking a dangerous cross over Areola only for Rabiot to awkwardly clear for a corner.
19th min SHOT: Does well to tee himself up on the edge of the box and he connects sweetly with a left-footed volley but it takes a slight deflection and goes wide – no corner is given, though.
33rd min CHANCE: Scintillating corner whipped in by Rodriguez and he finds Martinez in space and he has to score but instead directs his header wide.
45th min SUB: Kingsley Coman is brought on at half time in a switch for Rodriguez.
The Brazilian made the switch to Paris in a bid to further his claim for the Ballon d’Or throne and while he was impressive tonight the stage was all Mbappe’s.
Still, a goal and assist was about what he deserved but in reality he should have scored more with some horribly skewed efforts providing a mixed evening.
All eyes were on the 26-year-old and Neymar, the former foes at Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, but those casting their glance at Rodriguez would have been best to look away.
Not the type of impact a player of that quality and value is expected to deliver in games of this magnitude and he suffered the embarrassment of being brought off at half-time.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
Some of the world’s most famous names in football are in Dubai this week for the Premier Futsal 2017 finals.
The tournament has brought together some of the most decorated football icons from all corners of the globe and will be seen representing their teams in the semi-finals and final games hosted at Al Wasl Football Club.
The matches are scheduled for Tuesday 26 September – Sunday 1 October. Tickets are on sale here.
Six teams will make up the Dubai finals, with each being captained by an international superstar player including; Ronaldinho, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Hernan Crespo, Deco and Michel Salgado.
This is the second tournament hosted by Premier Futsal, having launched in 2016 in India. It is now the most viewed futsal event in the world.
All the talk in the Premier League this season has been about the Manchester clubs’ electric attacks – but United legend Paul Scholes insists the title race will boil down to who has the best defence.
Both Manchester City and United have established themselves from the rest of the Premier League’s pack after smashing in 21 and 17 goals respectively for a return of 16 points.
Given that attacking power their defensive records have been overlooked but they are equally impressive, having conceded just two goals apiece.
This weekend should bring City’s first real test as they head to London to take on reigning champions Chelsea, while United take on bitter rivals Liverpool on October 14.
But Scholes, speaking in Dubai’s Al Wasl Club on the sidelines of the ongoing Premier Futsal finals, believes the winners will be the team whose defence copes with the better opposition to come.
“They have both got pace in the side and I think it will come down to who is the best defensively – who concedes the fewest goals,” said Scholes, who won 11 Premier League titles with the Red Devils in a career spanning two decades.
“I don’t think either team have been really tested against a top team yet. City played Liverpool but they had Sadio Mane sent off, so that was game over really. They’ve had tough ones against Everton, United against Southampton away, but they still haven’t played big games yet and then we’ll see.”
Scholes’ old team have dramatically improved on this season’s evidence so far as Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic have immediately gelled in the middle while Romelu Lukaku is spearheading a new and improved attack.
With Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick also strong options in the middle, United can claim to have their most potent midfield since Scholes and Roy Keane were patrolling the park together.
Pogba’s injury has created a hitch in Jose Mourinho’s plans for now – yet Scholes believes the current crop share similarities to his own trophy-winning era.
“It wasn’t just me and Roy, there was Juan Veron, it was Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs could play in midfield. I think (Mourinho) has that same kind of squad now – there’s Herrera who can’t get a game, Michael Carrick who is not getting a game,” explained Scholes.
“He can mix and match but for now it looks like Matic and Pogba when he gets fit and that midfield should be as good as any.”
Pogba had to weather critics as his performances did not match the £89m (Dh438m) price tag United splurged last season, but according to Scholes, Matic’s reassuring presence has breathed new life into the Frenchman.
“The addition of Matic has helped Pogba and has given him that bit of freedom,” added Scholes, who is captaining Bengaluru Royals in the Premier Futsal finals. “He’s scored a couple of goals already, a couple of assists. Hopefully his injury is not as serious as it could be – we’re possibly talking about an operation so hopefully that’s not the case – and he’ll be back soon.
“There was always going to be a settling in period for him, I think there were two or three players along with him that took a little bit of time to settle down.”
The Premier Futsal finals are taking place in Dubai until Sunday, October 1. Deco, Ronaldinho, Ryan Giggs and Michel Salgado are also featuring.
Day tickets are priced from Dh50-500, with packages available from Dh150-1,650.