PARIS (AP) — Even before joining Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar was assisting the team.
PSG defender Dani Alves disclosed Saturday that he was advised by Neymar to move to the French capital last month — rather than sign for Manchester City — after being released by Juventus.
Neymar also let former Barcelona teammate Alves in on the secret that he was thinking about making the record-breaking 222 million euro ($262 million) transfer from the Camp Nou.
“I talked to him about the possibility,” Alves said. “He recommended me to come here. He suggested that I come to the club. I said I wanted to leave Juventus, and he was thinking of coming here.”
While Alves made his PSG league debut on Saturday in a 2-0 victory over Amiens, Neymar is yet to play for the French capital club after his international clearance didn’t come through in time.
“There is anticipation because of the football he plays and his will to show it to the world,” said the 35-year-old Alves, who won the Spanish league, Champions League and Club World Cup alongside Neymar at Barcelona. “You take a giant step when you have a player of this level to play against the other teams. This team will get a quality leap forward.”
Neymar’s transfer more than doubled the previous world transfer record set a year ago when Manchester United paid 105 million euros (then $116 million) to sign Paul Pogba.
“We are not moved by money,” Alves said. “Few people leave their comfort zone, and we are Brazilians. Brazilians do that.”
The arrival of Neymar and Alves adds an even stronger Brazilian flavor to a squad captained by Thiago Silva, whose center back partner is compatriot Marquinhos.
“Our group is very good, people here are very close,” Alves said. “This makes adapting a little easier….