His big comeback has never been so close. But in what atmosphere? Neymar, who has not worn the jersey of Paris SG since May, will rub against Strasbourg on Saturday at the Parc des Princes and its supporters, whose reception may be painful for the Brazilian star.
"It is necessary that he makes his return". Coach Thomas Tuchel is clear: the "Neymar soap opera" is well and truly over and fans have to cope with the outcome.
No question therefore for the German to dispense with the services of his playmaker, whom he hoped very much to retain in his squad despite the desires of the main concerned: Neymar "is a player of the PSG, and for that he is available for tomorrow "(Saturday), against Strasbourg during the 5th day of Ligue 1.
Will he play his first minutes in over four months with PSG? Tuchel did not assure him, merely stating that his N.10 had chosen to train with the group Thursday, just hours after landing in Paris, back from the meeting of the Seleçao in the United States where he played 120 minutes in two games, including 30 in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday against Peru (0-1).
- "Go away" -
But "he is used to these trips," continued the coach, who must find the key to manage the packages of Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani - too fair - and the mistrust of the new striker Mauro Icardi who has trained apart from Inter Milan for long months before joining the Paris team just before the end of the transfer window.
If he were to launch Neymar, as a titular or during the game, no doubt that Tuchel would expose his crack to the anger of the Parc des Princes, including his ultras.
On August 11 for the resumption of the championship against Nimes (3-0), even as the 27-year-old Brazilian was not in the stands, they had poured their frustration, their excitement or even their hatred, with great blows. streamers - especially "Neymar breaks" - and insulting songs. A clear message to the leader of the game, arrived two years earlier for 222 million euros, inviting him to leave as soon as possible the Parisian house where he was no longer welcome.
- "He is not going to be acclaimed" -
The reaction of supporters, one month after this episode, will be particularly scrutinized, especially since the Collectif Ultras Paris (CUP), the largest Parisian supporters group, had not communicated official position Friday afternoon.
"Whistling, it will not be too much, but it's clear he's not going to be cheered on," says James Rophé, a long-time supporter and co-founder of Liberty for Subscribers (LPA), which expects "full of different positions" to be expressed during the encounter with the player. "In the trends, we are between ignoring it completely, and being quite vindictive," he says.
PSG side, the staff strives to reassure fans: "I am convinced that he will give everything to help us achieve our goal and our first goal is to win against Strasbourg," said Tuchel, ensuring "understand that all the supporters are not happy right now".
From a marketing point of view too, we understood the importance of reintegrating the Brazilian crack into the life of the club: no wonder then to see the playmaker, all smiles, as headliner in the video promoting the new sponsor of the club, the Deliveroo meal delivery company, published Friday on PSG social networks.
The front smile will not change the immense pressure that weighs on Neymar's shoulders: that of the reconquest of his supporters. This one will go through the game. And it will not be, whatever happens, against Real Madrid, Wednesday for the debut of the Champions League, because the Brazilian is suspended. So why not start the operation on Saturday in Ligue 1 against Racing ...
© 2019 AFP