Official: Neymar joins PSG!

Paris Saint-Germain have des the world transfer record by completing the €222 million signing of Neymar from Barca on a five-year contract. 

 

The Brazilian had been continually linked with a move away from Camp Nou over the summer, and had declined to clarify his own future as the PSG rumours grew stronger. 

And after weeks of denials, mixed messages and reports, he has finally been confirmed as the Ligue 1 club’s latest signing on Thursday night.

“Paris Saint-Germain are very pleased to announce the arrival of Neymar Jr,” the Parisiens said in a statement on their official website.

Neymar will wear the number 10 shirt at Paris Saint-Germain. 

Trophee des Champions: Monaco 1 – 2 PSG

Dani Alves made a competitive debut to remember as Paris Saint-Germain struck a psychological blow in Ligue 1 by coming from behind to defeat Monaco 2-1 and win the Trophee des Champions.

 

PSG’s audacious pursuit of Barcelona superstar Neymar has been dominating the headlines in recent weeks, but it was Brazil team-mate Alves, signed on a free transfer from Juventus, that announced himself to the club’s faithful in stunning fashion in Saturday’s curtain raiser in Morocco.

The evergreen 34-year-old, playing in the unfamiliar position on the right of a front-three, blasted in a long-range free-kick shortly after the restart to cancel out Djibril Sidibe’s expertly taken first-half opener.

And Alves’ brilliant cross was headed home by Adrien Rabiot just after the hour to secure PSG a fifth consecutive Trophee des Champions victory.

The result puts into focus the challenge Monaco, who saw late penalty claims for handball against Rabiot dismissed, face in defending their shock Ligue 1 title victory this season.

Leonardo Jardim’s men swashbuckled their way to the championship last term, but have lost Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva and Tiemoue Bakayoko during the close-season, while the jewel in their attacking crown Kylian Mbappe is being heavily linked with a €180million move to Real Madrid.

PSG coach Unai Emery will be fully aware that the pressure is on this season to at a minimum regain the Ligue 1 title, but, with or without Neymar, they appear fully equipped to do just that.

Mbappe was impressive throughout for Monaco and the France forward had the ball in the back of the net in the fifth minute, but the goal was rightly ruled offside.

At the other end, Rabiot combined with Layvin Kurzawa before teeing up Alves, whose half-volley Danijel Subasic spilled before the Monaco goalkeeper recovered to deny Edinson Cavani.

The lively nature of the match continued and Jemerson made a superb block to deny Cavani sweeping in Kurzawa’s centre at the end of a lightning PSG break.

PSG began to stamp their authority on the match, but their failure to take advantage proved costly as Monaco opened the scoring with a fine breakaway goal on the half hour.

Monaco gained possession in PSG territory and debutant Youri Tielemans’ exquisite throughball was collected by Sidibe, who provided an equally brilliant dink over Alphonse Areola.

Radamel Falcao had the opportunity to double the lead when he met Sidibe’s teasing right-wing cross with a powerful header that cleared the crossbar.

But PSG were level in stunning fashion in the 51st minute when Alves smashed in a 30-yard free-kick to the left of Subasic that barely span as it nestled in the goal.

Rabiot then muscled in front of Kamil Glik to head wide from an Alves centre, but the same combination proved more fruitful in the 63rd minute.

Javier Pastore released Alves on the right of the box and he hung up a perfect cross for Rabiot to hammer his header past Subasic.

PSG were grateful to Areola for making a low save down to his right to keep out Guido Carrillo’s powerful downward header, while Thiago Silva made a fine block from Thomas Lemar’s follow-up.

Monaco had late claims for a penalty waved away when Rabiot seemingly controlled a Lemar cross with his arm, but Emery’s men withstood a late surge to once again begin their season with silverware.

ICC: PSG 2 – 3 Juventus

 

Juventus recorded a thrilling 3-2 victory against PSG thanks to a goal from Claudio Marchisio.

 

A second-half brace from Marchisio helped Juventus to a 3-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain at the International Champions Cup.

Gonzalo Higuain produced a classy finish on the stroke of half-time to give the Serie A champions a lead at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

But a Goncalo Guedes goal, set up by the impressive Angel Di Maria, saw PSG level early in the second half on Wednesday.

Marchisio scored superbly from 20 yards in the 62nd minute, but Javier Pastore levelled once more for PSG.

However, Juve would not be denied a third time as Marchisio converted from the penalty spot for the match-winner in the 89th minute.

Marco Verratti and Di Maria, both linked with moves from PSG, started, while Dani Alves began on the bench for the clash against his former club.

Juve made an energetic start and Paulo Dybala should have opened the scoring in the fourth minute.

The Argentina international cut in from the right before curling a shot just wide as he aimed for the far corner.

PSG slowly built into the clash, Blaise Matuidi squandering a good chance from a cross before Di Maria forced a diving save from Gianluigi Buffon.

Dybala then went close twice approaching the half-hour mark, forcing Alphonse Areola to save a free-kick before curling a set-piece just wide.

PSG forward Edinson Cavani had the ball in the back of the net in the 33rd minute, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.

Juve looked more dangerous throughout the opening 45 minutes and they deservedly went ahead on the stroke of half-time.

Higuain played a one-two with Dybala before clipping a finish past Areola and into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.

Juve made 10 changes at the break – with only Buffon staying on – while PSG introduced eight new substitutes.

It was a frantic start to the second half, Stefano Sturaro almost doubling Juve’s lead as he struck the post after a Mattia De Sciglio pass, while Giovani Lo Celso forced Buffon into a save before PSG equalised in the 53rd minute.

Di Maria and Layvin Kurzawa exchanged passes down the left before the former poked a pass to the back post, where Guedes tapped in.

A crucial touch from Buffon denied Jese Rodriguez before Marchisio restored Juve’s lead in style.

Kurzawa gave the ball away cheaply and Moise Kean ran at the PSG defence before playing a pass across the area, Marchisio producing a superb first-time finish from 20 yards.

But PSG responded again, a brave Pastore header from a Kurzawa cross making it 2-2 in the 80th minute.

However, Marchisio would score the winner, striking a penalty down the middle after Kean was brought down by Presnel Kimpembe.

Uli Hoeneß: “€222m for Neymar is a sign of weakness.”

Bayern Munich’s president Uli Hoeneß feels it is an admission of failure for a club to spend big in the transfer market, as Paris Saint-Germain continue to be linked with an astonishing €222 million swoop to sign Neymar from Barcelona.

The Ligue 1 giants are ready to smash the world transfer record by meeting the enormous release clause in the Brazil international’s contract, although Barca defender Gerard Pique suggested via a Tweet on Sunday that the 25-year-old has been convinced to remain at Camp Nou.

The attacker is yet to confirm his future has been decided, though, and Hoeneß believes such a transfer would be a bad sign.

“This is a sign of weakness,” he said of the outlays being made across Europe. 

“If I have to spend a lot of money to achieve nothing, it is more of a sign that I have not worked as well somewhere else. And that’s why I cannot be interested in spending so much. 

“Not the most expensive transfer is the best, but the one who does the most. 

“I think that is why, in this shark basin – €100m, €200m – we must find our own way.”

Bayern parted with a Bundesliga record fee of €41.5m to capture Corentin Tolisso from Lyon and brought in Niklas Sule from Hoffenheim for a reported €20m.

But they have also snared potential bargains in the form of Serge Gnabry, a cut-price arrival from Werder Bremen, James Rodriguez, signed on loan from Real Madrid, and free transfer Sebastian Rudy, as the team prepares to try and secure a sixth successive Bundesliga title. 

RB Leipzig sprung a surprise to finish second to Bayern last season, but Hoeneß expects a more predictable rival to vie for the championship in 2017-18.

“Leipzig will play a good season again, but the first challenger will surely be Borussia Dortmund,” he said.

Bayern were without a sporting director in coach Carlo Ancelotti’s first campaign in charge last term, after failing to replace Matthias Sammer, who stepped down in July 2016.

According to Hoeness, though, they are now close to making an appointment.

“We will announce a sporting director within the next six weeks,” he said.

“I’ve already said that (executive chairman) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and I have been looking around, and there have been some talks taking place.”

Alexis joining PSG?

The Arsenal star was in Paris on Friday for talks with PSG’s sporting director and chief executive ahead of a prospective €50 million move to Ligue 1.

The French club are growing increasingly confident of signing the Arsenal star for a €50 million fee inclusive of add-ons following preliminary talks with the Gunners. PSG say “nothing is done yet” regarding a move for Sanchez but the early signs from France suggest it is likely to happen.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has insisted that the club’s stance has not changed and their Chilean talisman will not be sold this summer, but contract talks have not progressed as hoped and Sanchez has shown no sign of committing to an extension which would mean he is available to leave on a free transfer when his deal at Emirates Stadium expires next summer.

Wenger is currently in China where Arsenal have almost completed their pre-season trip and spoke on Thursday about where Sanchez will play in the Gunners forward line next season, insisting that he will fit into the team alongside club-record summer signing Alexandre Lacazette.

Sanchez’s agent Fernando Felicevich has used interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to increase the salary demands for his client with Pep Guardiola’s side confident of signing the 28-year-old throughout the summer.

Felicevich, previously dubbed ‘the king of South American football’ by Forbes magazine, is regarded as a tough negotiator and his negotiation tactics were recently described as ‘dishonest’ by an intermediary for Brazilian club Vasco da Gama.

It’s understood that Felicevich was present in the meeting at Le Royal Monceau with his business partner Matias Aldao, while PSG had their chairman and chief executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi representing them alongside Henrique.

Al-Khelaifi has a close relationship with Wenger and the two are in regular contact regarding football matters which sees the Frenchman take part in TV work for beIN Sports, the media network founded by the man dubbed ‘the most powerful figure in French football’.

Alexis scored 24 goals in the Premier League last season and admitted while back home in Chile that it is his “dream” of playing in the Champions League – a competition that Arsenal aren’t involved in this season following last campaign’s fifth-placed finish.

“The truth is that the decision doesn’t depend on me,” said Sanchez. 

“I have made my decision, but now we wait for a response from Arsenal. It depends on them, I have to wait to know what they want.

“My idea is to play and win the Champions League, it is a dream I have had since I was little.”

Arsenal’s stance regarding Sanchez has not changed and they were confident earlier in the week that the player would return to pre-season training at London Colney following his holidays, along with the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin, on July 30.