Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe admitted that the French side won’t be the same should Neymar leave the club this summer.
The record signing was not named in the matchday squad for the comfortable 3-0 win over Nimes at the Parc des Princes with Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria all on the scoresheet.
But Neymar, said to be unsettled in France and who has been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid, was also the focus of attention with a number of fans holding a banner telling him to “get lost” and chanting about the 27-year-old.
Despite heavy speculation over Neymar’s exit, Mbappe is hoping that the Brazilian stays at the club.
“It’s not the same team without Neymar as it is with him. But we will try to do it for the fans,” he told Canal+.
“But we will not lie. We must also see what will happen with Neymar.”
Thomas Meunier has targeted a clean sweep of trophies for Paris St Germain as the French champions begin their Ligue 1 title defence.
PSG start their league campaign at home against Nimes on Sunday evening, with Thomas Tuchel’s side seeking a seventh domestic title in eight years.
The Parisians have already claimed a trophy this season by beating Rennes 2-1 in the Trophee des Champions last weekend.
“The Trophee des Champions is a title, and that’s always important for an ambitious club like Paris St Germain,” Belgium defender Meunier told www.ligue1.com.
“We want to win everything and we do everything to win as much as we can, with the right attitude and with the right character.
“We played very well against Rennes. We pressured them very high up the pitch.
“It was also very positive that we were able to come from behind.”
Ander Herrera, Pablo Sarabia and Abdou Diallo have all joined a PSG side that finished 16 points clear of second-place Lille last season.
Neutrals will hope for a closer Ligue 1 title race this time, but PSG – who have won 22 trophies since Qatar Sports Investment took control in 2011 – seem on a different level, even if Meunier says that presents its own problems.
He said: “When you play for Paris St Germain, we know that there’s nowhere to hide, especially here in France.
“That means there’s the pressure of being the favourites for the league title and the cup competitions.
“We need to live up to the billing. My team-mates and I will give 100 per cent in every single match to try and make the difference, whoever the opponent.
“We want to start the same way as last season (when PSG won their first 14 matches).
“To start like that would be fabulous because it was really an exceptional start. We are working very well, I’m confident.”
Sarabia and Diallo are set to make their league debuts against Nimes at the Parc des Princes, but former Manchester United midfielder Herrera faces four weeks out with a calf injury.
Brazil star Neymar, who has been linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid this summer, could feature after building up his fitness and completing a three-game ban.
Nimes impressed last season by finishing ninth in their first top-flight campaign since 1992-93.
But there has been a significant player turnaround this summer, with boss Bernard Blaquart reshaping his squad.
Teji Savanier, the only player to record more Ligue 1 assists than PSG’s Angel Di Maria last season, has left to join Montpellier, while Denis Bouanga, Sada Thioub, Umut Bozok and Rachid Alioui have also departed.
Sidy Sarr, Haris Duljevic, Vlatko Stojanovski, Romain Philippoteaux, Pablo Martinez and Zinedine Ferhat have been summer additions.
“Those who say that we have nothing to lose in Paris are wrong,” Blaquart told French publication Objectif Gard.
“If you take seven or eight (goals), you lose something. There is always pressure and we want to reassure ourselves.”
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti admits there is no point in trying to keep hold of a wantaway player as speculation over Neymar’s future in the French capital rumbles on.
Although he did not specify the Brazilian in an interview with RMC Sport, Barcelona’s pursuit of Neymar and the player’s tension with PSG is football’s worst-kept secret.
Neymar has scored 51 goals in 58 games since initially joining from Barca in 2017, though has suffered numerous problems including a spate of injuries.
As yet Barca have not come up with a suitable offer to tempt PSG into sanctioning his reunion with the Spanish champions – but Verratti insists it is difficult to stand in the way of any player’s wishes.
“When a player really wants to be sold, the club should let them go, by mutual agreement with the conditions imposed by the club, of course,” Verratti told RMC Sport.
“However, you can’t keep a player who wants to leave.”
Verratti admitted that he would prefer Neymar stayed at the club and confirmed that he has never heard the former Barcelona forward mentioning he wanted to leave.
“I’d certainly hate to see him leave,” admitted the 26-year-old.
“I’ve never heard him say that he wants to leave. I don’t know what he’s said to the club, but personally I’d prefer him to stay.”