After dazzling on his first appearance in a Paris Saint-Germain shirt, Neymar is in line to make his home debut for his new club against Toulouse on Sunday.
The world’s most expensive player scored one goal and set up another in a starring performance as PSG beat Guingamp 3-0 away in Brittany last weekend to maintain their perfect start to the new French season.
The €222million signing from Barcelona has already taken to the pitch at PSG’s Parc des Princes for an unveiling before their 2-0 win over Amiens there on the opening day of the campaign.
But he was not registered in time to play in that match so PSG’s home support are eager to watch the 25-year-old run out against Toulouse. In contrast, the opposition coach is rather more apprehensive.
“We are going to Paris to defend first of all, that is for sure. We will park the bus,” said Pascal Dupraz, whose team did beat PSG at home and drew away last season en route to a mid-table finish.
“I believe in the possibility of getting a result in Paris. That is the beauty of football too. If I didn’t believe then I’d be as well to do something else.”
Dupraz, who has this week brought in Ivory Coast winger Max-Alain Gradel on loan from Bournemouth, added: “We will need luck and to have God on our side because clearly this PSG side is incredible.
“But be careful not to call this game Toulouse against Neymar! Paris will win the league, I think, and will once again go far in Europe.”
PSG have been busy trying to reduce their wage bill following the Neymar signing, and have loaned unwanted Spanish forward Jese to Stoke City while agreeing to sell France midfielder Blaise Matuidi to Juventus for €20million
Meanwhile, they are apparently ready to pay another blockbuster fee of €180million to sign Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe.
The 18-year-old striker, who hails from the Paris suburbs, is keen on the move and while Monaco would prefer him to go to Real Madrid, the French champions have left him out of their squad to face Metz on Friday.
The decision to drop Mbappe came after he was left on the bench for the duration of last weekend’s 4-1 win at Dijon, in which Radamel Falcao scored a hat-trick.
“The philosophy at AS Monaco is to play those who are at 100 percent and totally available to the squad,” said coach Leonardo Jardim.
Lyon are top of the early standings on goal difference and they will look to make it three wins from three when they host Bordeaux on Saturday.
Also on maximum points are Saint-Etienne, who host Amiens, and Marseille, whose home clash with Angers comes in between the two legs of their Europa League play-off against Domzale of Slovenia.
It has been a difficult start to the season for last season’s third-placed side Nice. They lost their opening two league outings and then went down 2-0 away to Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League play-off on Wednesday.
They need a lift when they entertain Guingamp on Saturday, when star duo Mario Balotelli and Wesley Sneijder could play some part.
“They are coming back, but I don’t know if they will start,” said coach Lucien Favre.
Football icons and longtime rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo joined Spanish sports stars around the world in expressing their grief after Thursday’s terror attack in Barcelona left 13 people dead.
Barcelona’s most famous street Las Ramblas was packed with tourists when a van drove into the crowds, leaving scenes of carnage.
“I want to send my condolences and all my support to the families and friends of the victims of the terrible attack in our beloved Barcelona, in addition to totally rejecting any act of violence,” Barcelona star Messi, 30, wrote on Instagram.
“We are not going to give up, there are many more of us who want to live in a world in peace, without hate and where respect and tolerance are the basis of coexistence,” added the Argentine who arrived in the Catalan capital as a teenager 14 years ago.
Real Madrid’s Portuguese captain Ronaldo took to social media to express his shock at the attack which also left more than 50 injured.
“Dismayed at the news coming from Barcelona. All the support and solidarity (to) the family and friends of the victims,” he wrote on Twitter.
Like Ronaldo and Messi, other athletes took to social network in an outpouring of solidarity with the Catalan capital.
Quiero mandar mis condolencias y todo mi apoyo a las familias y amigos de las víctimas del terrible atentado en nuestra amada Barcelona, además de rechazar totalmente cualquier acto de violencia. No nos vamos a rendir, somos muchos más los que queremos vivir en un mundo en paz, sin odio y donde el respeto y la tolerancia sean las bases de la convivencia.
Todos consternados por lo que ha pasado y las noticias que siguen saliendo desde nuestra ciudad. Todo mi cariño. pic.twitter.com/CIhEKncx4A
— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) August 17, 2017
Very shocked for what happened in Barcelona. All my support to the city and families! pic.twitter.com/YDtyAiw7Qc
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) August 17, 2017
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) August 17, 2017
All my support to the victims and their families during these incredibly tough times. #Barcelona
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) August 17, 2017
Deeply saddened by the attack on our city. All our thoughts are with the victims, their families and with the people of Barcelona.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 17, 2017
Triste demais ver as notícias que chegam de #Barcelona. Meu apoio e solidariedade para as vítimas e famílias. 🙏
— Ronaldinho Gaúcho (@10Ronaldinho) August 17, 2017
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) August 17, 2017
Consternado com as notícias que chegam de Barcelona. Todo o apoio e solidariedade a família e amigos das vítimas.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) August 17, 2017
Thoughts are with everyone in Barcelona tonight 🙏🏼
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) August 17, 2017
Each year we see young, talented footballers step up to the limelight and make a name for themselves on the big stage.
By normal standards, however, the new season will have more than its fair share of young players starring for their respective teams, with a talented crop of wonderkids looking to stamp down their authority early on.
Copa90 put together a list of the ten best young stars to watch out for, with Vinicius Junior, Justin Kluivert, and Reiss Nelson just a few in a stellar list.
If these players all kick on and achieve consistency, football’s future is in safe hands.