LONDON (AFP) – The signing of Brazilian superstar Neymar for a world record fee by Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain is “amazing for France”, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told the Daily Telegraph.
PSG paid Barcelona 222 million euros ($264 million) for Neymar, 25, in August before signing Kylian Mbappe on loan with an option to buy the 18-year-old from Monaco for up to 180 million euros in the second largest deal in history.
Mbappe had been a target of Real Madrid and the deals have provoked a fiery reaction from La Liga chief Javier Tebas, who accused PSG – and English side Manchester City – of making a mockery of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
Al-Khelaifi, however, told the Telegraph in an interview published on the eve of PSG’s Champions League opener against Celtic in Glasgow that Neymar’s arrival should be celebrated as it has also opened up Europe’s premier club competition. “Neymar is an international superstar,” said Al-Khelaifi.
“An international brand. Everybody is asking ‘what’s going on in France and in the French league? Neymar is playing for Paris Saint-Germain! Even people who are not interested in football are saying that.