While Neymar’s future remains in the balance, Paris Saint-Germain are all set to launch the defence of their Ligue 1 title in the upcoming weekend.
The Brazilian superstar has been linked with a return to his former club Barcelona all summer and has been urged to remain at Paris by team-mate Kylian Mbappe.
“Everyone loves him and I love him so much,” Mbappe had said about Neymar following PSG’s 2-1 win over Rennes in the Champions Trophy clash in Shenzhen, China.
“I don’t want him to leave the team, obviously. I want him to stay. When you think about his situation and then he plays very well and he co-operates with the team you can see what he means to us.”
While Neymar’s future remains up in the air, Mbappe has reiterated his commitment to PSG following his controversial remarks about seeking ‘new challenges’ in the Ligue 1 award ceremony held in May.
“I think it wasn’t the right place (to say that),” Mbappe was quoted as saying by AFP.
“I’d like to say sorry to the players who were there, because I spoiled the party.”
While PSG have captured six of the last seven Ligue 1 titles on offer, Champions League success continues to elude them and German playmaker Julian Draxler is desperate to make amends on that front in the upcoming season.
The French side bowed out in the Round of 16 in the 2018-19 season to Manchester United despite gaining a 2-0 first-leg advantage away from home.
“It hurts a lot, it hurts still that we did not go through,” Draxler told AFP.
“But from the potential in the team, we are ready to go far in the Champions League,” the German added.
While progress on the European front will be primary for PSG in the upcoming season, they will be further emboldened in their domestic pursuits with their rivals losing key players over the summer.
Lille winger Nicolas Pepe has departed for Arsenal while Lyon have lost the services of Nabil Fekir, Tanguy Ndombele and Ferland Mendy. Losing three key players in one go has seen Lyon struggle in pre-season with new boss Sylvinho finding the going tough.
The former Barcelona and Arsenal left-back has a massive challenge on his hands if Lyon are to put an end to PSG’s domestic dominance. Another manager who will be keenly followed over the course of the season is Andres Villas-Boas with the Portuguese manager making a return to football after an 18-month break.
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