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Neymar Feted in PSG Stadium Show, but Misses League Opener

World-record signing Neymar greeted delirious fans at a grand welcome event at Paris St Germain's stadium on Saturday but must sit out the French club's Ligue 1 opener after his transfer was not registered in time.

Reuters

Updated:August 5, 2017, 11:17 PM IST
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Neymar Feted in PSG Stadium Show, but Misses League Opener
Brazilian soccer star Neymar applauds his fans at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, during his official presentation to fans ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's season opening match against Amiens. Neymar would not play in the club's season opener as the French football league did not receive the player's international transfer certificate before Friday's night deadline. The Brazil star became the most expensive player in soccer history after completing his blockbuster transfer from Barcelona for 222 million euros ($262 million) on Thursday. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Paris: World-record signing Neymar greeted delirious fans at a grand welcome event at Paris St Germain's stadium on Saturday but must 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.

"Merci," Neymar said in French on a podium in the middle of a sunny Parc des Princes as he was presented to tens of thousands of PSG supporters, before adding via an interpreter that "my intention is to win many trophies with you."

The Brazilian pleased fans by parading round the pitch, showing his juggling skills and ending up bare-chested after throwing his team shirt into the crowd.

The Parc des Princes opened its doors early for the event, which also included French DJ Martin Solveig entertaining supporters, well ahead of the 15.15 GMT kick-off for the opening league fixture against newly promoted Amiens.

Neymar had said at a media presentation on Friday that he hoped to take part in PSG's opening league match at the Parc des Princes. He then trained with his new team mates, who include fellow Brazilian Dani Alves, another former Barcelona star.

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.

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.

Tickets for PSG's first away match, at Guingamp next weekend, have already sold out and fans in Brittany may be rewarded by seeing Neymar make his debut for PSG.

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 for potentially undermining Financial Fair Play rules covering European clubs.
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