Neymar to be feted in PSG stadium show, but miss league opener
August 5, 2017 06:56 PM NPT
PARIS, August 5: World record signing Neymar will be treated to a grand welcome ceremony at Paris St Germain's stadium on Saturday but will sit out the French club's Ligue 1 opener after his transfer was not registered in time.
PSG doubled the world record for a transfer fee this week when they agreed to pay 222 million euros ($261.32 million) to lure the 25-year-old Brazilian forward from Barcelona on a five-year contract.
Neymar had said at a media presentation on Friday that he hoped to take part in PSG's opening league match against newly-promoted Amiens at the Parc des Princes.
Despite training with his new teammates, who include fellow Brazilian Dani Alves, another former Barcelona star, Neymar will not play.
PSG failed to meet a midnight deadline for a transfer certificate to be submitted to France's professional football league, the LFP, from Spain's football authorities, a LFP spokeswoman said.
The star will nonetheless be honoured with a special pre-match event during which he will be presented to the 45,000-capacity crowd.
The Parc des Princes was opening its doors early for the event which included French DJ Martin Solveig entertaining supporters.
The match will kick off at 15h15 GMT.
Saturday's ceremony caps a marketing blitz by PSG, which on Friday sold 10,000 replica shirts printed with Neymar's name and registered 500,000 euros in merchandise sales, news channel BFM TV said.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told reporters on Friday that the value of the club had risen by half a billion dollars since Neymar's signing.
The excitement of the Brazilian star's arrival in Paris has spread to supporters of other clubs, with fans of Guingamp in Brittany rushing to buy tickets for PSG's first away match scheduled for next weekend.
Neymar's arrival has raised hopes in France that Ligue 1's profile will be boosted, although PSG's Qatari owners have also drawn criticism over Financial Fair Play rules covering European clubs.