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Nene backs Neymar to make history at Paris Saint-Germain

274   //    27 Aug 2017, 18:16 IST
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Neymar at his Paris Saint-Germain presentation

Neymar has the potential to make history at Paris Saint-Germain and become the world's greatest footballer in the process, according to the club's former forward Nene.

The Brazil star has enjoyed an exceptional start to his Ligue 1 career following his world-record €222million transfer from Barcelona, registering three goals and three assists in his first three appearances.

His speedy adaptation to life in the French capital has been all the more impressive given the acrimony surrounding the move, which has seen Barca launch legal action after alleging a breach of contract on Neymar's part, while FIFA is investigating a complaint made by the forward in relation to an unpaid loyalty bonus.

Nene, who won the Ligue 1 title during three strong years at Parc des Princes, believes Neymar will prove he made the right choice by helping the club to reach new heights, including a possible Champions League triumph.

"Seeing him in my old team, with my old shirt, is fantastic," Nene, a close friend of his compatriot, told Le Parisien. "We spoke a lot before he signed. I weighed the pros and cons but I told him that Paris was the best choice for him.

"It's where he can become the best player in the world, where he can make history. Paris have never won the Champions League. They already had a great team but with Dani Alves and him, it could be the difference. I think they could even win it this year.

"I'm really glad he made the choice. He will not regret it.

"I know he loves challenges, he loves it when he's under pressure. I also know that this is a club that has grown well and that is worthy of a player like Neymar.

"I told him about the facilities, the passion of the fans. I told him he was going to be adored, and that was true when he signed, wasn't it? It was an incredible explosion."

Neymar admitted to agonising over whether to leave Barca for PSG, as senior players including Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique advised him to stay.

Nene says the pressure from those at Camp Nou weighted heavily on Neymar's shoulders and is impressed by the way he remained positive throughout the saga.

"I spent the holidays at his home in Angra dos Reis. It was at this time that he was fully in doubt and hesitated between Paris and Barca," said the Vasco da Gama forward.

"Afterwards, when he returned to Barcelona, it was difficult. Messi, Pique, Suarez, the directors, everyone put pressure on him to stay. It wasn't easy to manage, you have to put yourself in his position.

"He had doubts, which is normal. But he was truly brave. He hasn't lost his joie de vivre, nor his football."

Nene also dismissed concerns of possible jealousy within the PSG squad over Neymar's reported wage of close to €560,000 per week.

"It's not Neymar's fault the transfer was so expensive," he added. "I think every player is happy with the salary they're getting and nobody is going to be jealous of Neymar's. He deserves what he earns. He is the future best player in the world."

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